Xhaka shade + 3 exceptional prospects you’d hope Sven has earmarked

by & filed under News Review.

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Rumours all over the place about who we’re going to sign to replace Aaron Ramsey. Denis Suarez has thrown his name into ring, and I couldn’t be any less excited there. The versatile Spaniard had a spell under Emery back in the day, he clocked some solid numbers considering he was 20, but I’m not sure he’s really hit the heights at Barcelona.

Emery might want to bring in a player he knows can work under him. I’d certainly imagine Suarez can do more of the things the manager wants for a fraction of the price, but I think we could do better.

The player everyone hopes we’re in for this summer is Kai Havertz (watch here for a download). The precocious teenager is lighting up German football this season. He’s notched 16 games, 6 goals and 5 assists. Those are Sancho/Nelson like numbers. The rumour is Bayern Munich are going hard for him as they look to refresh a squad that’s lacking ideas… however, it’d be rude of Arsenal not to make a play for him. He’s quite the player to watch on the ball, and he’ll certainly be a force to reckon with for many years… not just that, he’ll have resale value, which is I assume something the club are keen on doing as they look to play catch up with the big boys.

There’s a lot of talent around Europe at the moment. Matthijs De Ligt and Frenkie De Jong look ready to make big moves this summer, and again, they’re two players who are going to have long illustrious careers ahead of them. De Ligt shouldn’t be controlling games from defence as a teenager, and De Jong shouldn’t be running games with such swagger. The thought of Manchester City signing them makes me feel a touch ill.

That’s the big question for Arsenal fans. Are we able to compete for the cream? Or do we have to take lower level gambles that come with more risk? Is even Pepe of Lille in our league? Is a Sarr move our type of buy?

It’s an arms race for talent, it’s just a shame that the game is so rigged in the favor of the clubs that are using nation wealth to fund their opulent squads.

Still, there are plenty of good players out there, and Arsenal have a lot of smart people scouring the plant for exceptional talent. I also think we have the luxury of a great city, and a backroom team that are going to be more willing to pull the trigger quickly. I’m looking forward to Arsenal pulling off some audacious deals, as well as the continuation of excellent off the radar signings like the ever impressive Guendouzi, and the superb Lucas Torreira.

Granit Xhaka has been heaping praise on Unai.

“It’s definitely my best season so far,”

“Without doubt, I think I’ve taken another step forward.

“It’s the best I’ve felt at Arsenal since I came to the club and the coach has had an enormous influence.

“He prepares us all and we have a plan. We know how to do it with the ball and without the ball. We know how and when to stand where.

“Emery is like Lucien Favre [whom Xhaka played for at Gladbach], a freak who pushes us back and forth, 10 times, until everyone understands.

You can’t help but read the subtle dig, I mean, we don’t need to keep going here, but it still gives me great satisfaction after all those years of people telling me Wenger was a tactical mastermind let down by the players. It doubles down on an observation someone from Germany shared with me about Xhaka’s failings… he went from a ruthless tactical overlord, to someone who just wanted the players to express themselves without the contraint of a plan.

The jury is still out for me on Xhaka. I think we can do better. But I am happy to see him improve. Less big game mistakes would be lovely. My concern is if you’re still brain farting at 26, that might just be your thing.

Right, that’s me done. See you in the comments! x

109 Responses to “Xhaka shade + 3 exceptional prospects you’d hope Sven has earmarked”

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  1. Pierre

    Pedro
    “, but it still gives me great satisfaction after all those years of people telling me Wenger was a tactical mastermind let down by the players”

    “Tactical mastermind” ….2 words that I never thought would be uttered about Wenger.but apparently people have been telling Pedro exactly that for all these years.

    Do I think Pedro is being a little economical with the truth …..has to be yes.

    Pedro ,the point you was trying to make about Wenger’s tactical failings would have more substance off you just stick to the truth ….xhaka’s comment is saying one of 2 things
    1) wenger was shit tactically which is probably the favourite or

    2) I am going to creep to Emery as I don’t want to lose my place in the team ,and what better way is there than saying the new manager is a tactical mastermind.

  2. Marko

    Could be both Pierre. Could be a sly dig at the previous manager while staying in the good books of the new. Depends which way you care to view it really

  3. HighburyLegend

    “But I am happy to see him improve. ”

    In his case, are we sure that we can call this… an improvement ?? lol

  4. Champagne charlie

    I noted it the other day when Xhaka was topic of discussion, but i’d be curious to see Xhaka’s errors at Monchengladbach vs here. He’s clearly got room to improve in that department from a personal perspective, but I do wonder how much the ‘fluid’ system under Wenger played a part in exacerbating his abilities to drop a big error.

    Emery is like Favre (if you listen to Granit), so might we see that Xhaka emerge going forward? Be nice if we did, remains to be seen. What I will say is that i’d venture to state modern players need more info and instruction than previous era’s. There’s less on pitch management than before, and it’s more ‘specialised’ stuff per position. I think it goes a long way to understanding why we’ve seen an upturn in performances from some of the new-age lot in our squad under Emery (Xhaka, Mustafi, Bellerin, Iwobi, Holding etc).

  5. Pierre

    Charlie
    Yes you can see a definite improvement in the players you mention but
    it remains to be seen if that philosophy works as well for Emery with the more creative, off the cuff players .

    Of course the argument will be that if our more creative players can’t adapt to Emery’s philosophy then they will be moved on and new players will be brought in which is easy to say but not quite as easy to implement ,especially with the financial restrictions placed upon Emery……also the team has to remain competitive in a very difficult league.

    In the meantime ,Emery has to find a way to get through the next 6 weeks unscathed .
    Personally ,I would say beating Spurs in the league cup and maintaining our league position up until the new year would be regarded as a good achievement ,plus we will have qualified in the Europa cup.
    Anything more than that would be a bonus.

  6. Chris

    Well Xhaka isn’t the first to comment that training is more intense and beneficial under coaches other than Wenger, and he probably won’t be the last.

    I don’t think he is sucking up to Emery, he is naturally enjoying his job more because he has direction and is feeling the satisfaction from it, like any other job in life.

    It would be great to see his improvement continue. There is a reason he was in the Bundesliga team of the year.

  7. Eduardo

    Has it gone quiet on Banega? I thought he was the veteran CM we were going to bring in to replace Ramsey. If we got him there’d still be scope for a couple of young talents. Julian Brandt looks really good to me.

  8. Cesc Appeal

    If it is not Havertz then it has to be Fornals particularly if this thing about his release clause is true, if you can get around £10 Million for Elneny and bring in Fornals for £18 Million that is very smart business.

    Havertz though has the potential to be a superstar.

  9. Receding Hairline

    it remains to be seen if that philosophy works as well for Emery with the more creative, off the cuff players

    Why do you persist with this line of thought that creative players should not have any on field responsibilities with regards to pressing and keeping the shape of the team, Have you stopped to observe how hard De Bruyne, Bernado Silva and David Silva work on the pitch, how they are constantly moving and closing down spaces, has this made them any less creative??

    The players you keep advocating a free role for, Ozil and Mhkhi aren’t even that good.

  10. mysticleaves

    Alot of names being linked with us it’s unusual. I wonder if the press identify we are hot in the press about becoming a real club again and are just maximizing it for hits.

    As for Xhaka, I would say he, like every other players, have improves already this season and are still improving. One should never ever underestimate the value of a coach that knows what he’s doing. Emery definitely knows.

  11. mysticleaves

    Have also wondered why Pierre always keeps going about creative players. The most successful teams in Europe of the last 5 seasons are the most structured. The game has gone past allowing creativity and freedom being the order of the day.

  12. Guns of Hackney

    Xhaka has a Spanish sausage in his mouth and it ain’t chorizo. What a douche.

    I’ve never heard of any of those players which means they must suck.

    If GOH doesn’t give a player the thumbs up, he’s shit…I think Man City have called me a few times asking for my opinion. I haven’t bothered getting back to them.

  13. Pierre

    RH
    “Why do you persist with this line of thought that creative players should not have any on field responsibilities with regards to pressing and keeping the shape of the team, ”

    Not quite understanding what I am saying are you .

    Actually,Mhkitaryan,Aubamayang and Ozil “on field responsibilities ” have been pretty good..it’s the creative side of their game ,the link up play,the chemistry that’s missing .

    I have likened the situation of our creative players with Manchester united ‘s who’s “on field responsibilities” are also pretty good but also lack the spark up front.
    I can see similarities in the management philosophy of Emery and Mourinho in that they want a rigid structure and regard their “on field responsibilities” as priority sometimes to the detriment of the creativity of the team .

    But of course ,that is only my opinion.

    Personally,I would like to see our full backs playing as full backs instead of wingbacks…….that would give us more stability at the back.

    As for your opinion that Mhkitaryan and ozil are not even that good , I would agree with you that THIS season they haven’t been that good but atm they are the best we have and ,as I said previously, Arsenal managers have to work under financial constraints so changing personnel is easier said than done.

  14. Pierre

    Mysticleaves
    In your opinion are Aubamayang,Mhkitaryan or ozil playing anywhere near their full potential.

    He honest .

    And do you think it would be more beneficial to the team if our most creative do what they do best …create……atm Arsenal are the hardest working team in the prem and that includes the creative players.
    .

  15. Bamford10

    I agree that we’re not dynamic enough in attack — gambon posted a stat showing we have 1/2 or 1/3 the xG that City or Liverpool do, I think — but this is down to personnel and formation. None of our “wide players” is good enough, Aubameyang isn’t a wide player, and Lacazette isn’t good enough to dominate as a lone CF. As for Mkhitaryan, he has actually been pretty productive when he has played, but he rarely starts and it isn’t clear where he really even fits in, esp. when we have Ozil in the XI.

    Solution is to get much better wide or to switch to a two-CF set-up.

  16. Graham62

    I have my own take on the subject regarding our “creative players”, which will not surprise some of you.

    Wenger let them get away with murder which, consequently, gave them the leeway to express themselves whenever it suited. Emery, on the other hand, is establishing structure(discipline) which means the creative players have to think and adapt or, to put it another way, work harder.

    The consequences of this is that they now have to think of others rather than themselves. Not so easy for Ozil and friends, as you can see.

  17. Bamford10

    Pierre

    In your opinion, do City, Liverpool or Chelsea allow their creative player to focus on “creating”? Or are their creative players, like everyone else in the side, responsible for pressing and defending (where appropriate)?

  18. gambon

    I said for years and years that Arsenals attacking players were not as good as people thought.

    Ozil was given the luxury of being able to do nothing defensively.

    Now he is being asked to contribute (as players like Eriksen, Alli, DeBruyne & Silva have to) he is not capable of the same attacking numbers.

    Ergo, he was never as good as people thought.

  19. Dissenter

    Bam
    “Reports that Rabiot is leaving PSG and headed to Barcelona.”

    It was decided last summer that he will complete his contract and leave on a free transfer.

  20. Pierre

    Graham
    How have I cut my own throat ….no one has put up an argument as to why our creative players are playing well below their potential .

    I will go back to the beginning of the season (after the first 2 games)when I made the point that we have hired a (good) manager who has a certain footballing philosophy but he has taken over a squad of players who will find it difficult to implement that style of football and more importantly Emery will not be given the financial support to help him implement that philosophy.

    Some on here seem to think we are playing the pressing game ….we are not because we haven’t the players for it…we don’t press as a team , we press individually and very rarely win the ball back early when pressing.

    Some on here seem to think we are playing out from the back ..starting with the keeper ….we are not because we haven’t players at the back who are comfortable enough on the ball to do it…hence why the Emirates crowd are nervous and why we have conceded chances with this tactic .

    What we have is something In between , we have the hardest working team in the league but you wouldn’t believe it watching the team play and all the gaps we leave down the channels specifically ..

    A team that puts in that amount of effort should look solid , with no gaps , no space for the opposition but that is not the case so obviously a lot of energy is being wasted .

    Again I will go back to the point that we have hired a very hard working manager who I believe has a near impossible job to compete for the title without being given the necessary funds to implement his philosophy.

  21. HighburyLegend

    “without being given the necessary funds to implement his philosophy.”

    Other shave tried, with all the necessary funds at their disposal, but it didn’t work either.

  22. Dissenter

    2018/19 Premier League’s top 10 most fouled players [from daily mirror]
    1. Wilfried Zaha – 32

    2. Eden Hazard – 31

    3= Will Hughes – 29

    3= James Maddison – 29

    5. Lucas Torreira – 28

    6. Richarlison – 26

    7= Glenn Murray – 25

    7= Paul Pogba – 25

    9. Josh Murphy – 23

    Torriera didn’t get that many minutes initially so it’s surprising that he’s been kicked around that often.
    Ozil, it seems also goes missing in games so it’s unsurprising that he’s no whee on the list. ‘Creative players” tend to be the ones that get fouled often.

  23. Champagne charlie

    “Aubameyang isn’t a wide player, and Lacazette isn’t good enough to dominate as a lone CF.“

    What do you mean Lacazette isn’t good enough to dominate as a CF?

    Are you suggesting Auba isn’t a wide player, but can dominate as a CF?

    Also, your comment comparing Liverpool’s attack, I can assume then you consider Firmino someone “good enough” to dominate as a CF?

    Some clarity on these points wouldn’t go amiss, especially given your previous inputs that Lacazette isn’t good enough and Auba is far better. Almost could be read like you’re aiming to circle back around to those points made in the summer. Doesn’t sound like you at all though eh..

  24. Graham62

    Pierre

    I gave my argument. What don’t you understand?

    Our creative players are suffering because they are no longer being spoilt. They are now being held accountable.

    In any case, Wengers boys never performed consistently when he was around, so why do you suddenly think they’ll change their natural habits so quickly. Remember, these players have generally been lazy for years. Emery is giving them a chance to prove otherwise.

    Emery is seeing how they react when more responsibility is handed to them. So far, as we can all see, they are finding it a little difficult.

    Patience is the virtue, as I’ve always said. If you seriously think that Emery has a magic wand in his hand that can get players, who basically did sweet fa, to suddenly start to do all these incredible things you talk about, then I’m afraid you are deluded.

    Mkhitaryan, Ozil and Aubameyang are struggling because they are basically weak minded individuals(thanks Arsene) who need to show a wee bit more cojones in training each day(thanks Troy), which will then manifest on the field of play.

    I feel all the players have bought into Emery’s philosophies, but the three you highlight are struggling because they suddenly have more expected of them. Whilst others are adapting well it is obvious that these three need a little bit more coaxing.

    They came to Arsenal to coast along, under Wenger!! Oops, shock horror, now they have to work for a living.

    One thing I do agree with you on, Wenger caused all these difficulties.

    That’s what your basically saying……….Right?

    Give it time and Emery will sort it all out.

    Trust me.

  25. Pierre

    Graham
    “Remember, these players have generally been lazy for years. Emery is giving them a chance to prove otherwise.”

    oh dear…Mhkitaryan and Aubamayang have been at the club 9/10 months ..Lacazette just over a season …

  26. Pierre

    Graham
    If your argument centres around” wenger boys”that are finding it difficult to adapt to Emery’s hard working philosophy I’m afraid your argument falls flat on its face..

    We have bellerin,iwobi,holding,xhaka and mustafi all “wenger boys” that are showing improvement under Emery .

    The players that were at the club before Emery arrived and haven’t been there long enough to be “wengerized” as you would call it would be . …Aubamayang(regressed)..Mhkitaryan(regressed) ..Lacazette(no change) Kolasinac(no change)

    Makes your argument look very weak doesn’t it especially as Aubamayang and Mhkitaryan are not regarded as Wenger buys.

  27. Graham62

    Pierre

    You are a Richard Head.

    I know how long they’ve been at the club, what I’m highlighting is that Wenger bought in lazy/weak minded players. Get it? Jeepers creepers, what an ignoramus.

    You don’t think things through do you.

  28. Bamford10

    Charlie

    “What do you mean Lacazette isn’t good enough to dominate as a CF?”

    Exactly what it sounds like I mean. He’s a decent CF, but he’s no Aguero. He can’t create loads of chances for himself via the dribble, and he has yet to have a game or run of games where he is a constant problem for the opposition’s defenders, where he has, say, 4-5 shots in a half and seems to be everywhere. He is generally quiet or invisible for much of our matches but often finds a way to score when we need a goal. This is great, but a really good CF does more than this, creates more than this.

    “Are you suggesting Auba isn’t a wide player, but can dominate as a CF?”

    No. Aubameyang was even less convincing as the lone CF. This is why I have been calling for both to be played through the center for some time now.

    “Also, your comment comparing Liverpool’s attack, I can assume then you consider Firmino someone “good enough” to dominate as a CF?”

    Firmino doesn’t need to be a dominating CF because they play a genuine 4-3-3 and have fantastic wide players. In contrast, we play a (largely toothless) 4-5-1 — a system which requires more from the CF — and we lack quality wide play. So Firmino’s situation is quite different.

  29. Pierre

    Dissenter
    “Ozil, it seems also goes missing in games so it’s unsurprising that he’s no whee on the list. ‘Creative players” tend to be the ones that get fouled often.”

    Am I correct in saying you are using a “most fouled” stat to deduce that ozil goes missing in games yet when I give you a “created the most chances in Europe stat last season” ,you and many others disregard it ……..strange

  30. Graham62

    Your second post highlights my point.

    You never read other comments properly.

    Read my post again, notably the paragraph highlighting all the players buying into Emery’s philosophies.

    The Wenger boys I mentioned were Ozil, Mkhitaryan, Auba, who he bought into the club. All similar in mindset, all purchased by Wenger.

    All the other players knew Wenger was shite and were prepared to act. These three however, got caught with their pants down because they were suddenly being taken out of their comfort zones.

    Still don’t get it do you?

  31. Pierre

    Graham
    ” I know how long they’ve been at the club, what I’m highlighting is that Wenger bought in lazy/weak minded players. ”

    Aubamayang and Mhkitaryan (2 very good player imo) by common consensus were Not wenger buys …..so are you saying Lacazette is a lazy/weak minded individual.

    You’re not doing very well here are you .

  32. Pierre

    Graham
    ” The Wenger boys I mentioned were Ozil, Mkhitaryan, Auba, who he bought into the club. All similar in mindset, all purchased by Wenger. ”

    Although Mhkitaryan and Aubamayang are not regarded as Wenger buys ,is it not a bit of a coincidence that,as you agreed, it is our most creative players who are struggling to adapt to Emery’s style …..

  33. Dissenter

    Pierre
    I’m stating that a flair player like Ozil should be getting fouled more often if he was involved with games as much as most of us expect him to be.
    Ozil doesn’t do enough for his team offensively and defensively.
    He’s not on that stat [most fouled] because he’s typically hiding in the competitive games where tackles are being made.

  34. Pierre

    Graham
    So are you suggesting that sanllehi and mislintat had nothing to do with the 2 former Dortmund players that were signed in the January transfer window…

  35. Pierre

    Dissenter
    “I’m stating that a flair player like Ozil should be getting fouled more often if he was involved with games as much as most of us expect him to be.”

    Just out of interest , are you using the same criteria for all “flair” players not on the list .
    David Silva
    Jourginho
    Sane
    Salah
    Mane
    Martial,
    Rashford
    Sanchez
    Mahrez.

    To name but a few who are not on the list .

  36. Bob N16

    You exposed Graham(agenda)62 there Pierre.

    Await with interest his response to the Dortmund/ Minslat link. Probably will come back with his shovel and dig a bigger hole to persevere with his misjudged thinking.

    Can’t imagine dot-to-dot was ever his strong point!

  37. TR7

    ‘. He can’t create loads of chances for himself via the dribble’

    And how many chances does Firmino create for himself dribbling and dancing around oppsoition defenders ? It’s almost like you make your mind up about a player one way or the other and then build your arguments around it rather than it being the other way round. If there were no Mane and Salah, Firmino would be completely useless, Laca on the other hand has been regularly hitting the net even though he has no recognized wide players around him.

  38. Bamford10

    TR7

    That’s precisely why I said that Firmino is in a very different situation — both on account of their playing 4-3-3 and on account of their having superior wide players. I also never said anything about him being more productive than Lacazette.

    You should try reading my fucking posts more carefully before you comment on them.

    It’s almost like you have some stupid fucking agenda to criticize comments you haven’t fully considered.

    Jesus Christ. What a fucking moron.

  39. Marc

    Funny how I’ll never bump into any of the all knowing super fans that are on here at a match.

    International breaks should be a crime against sanity.

  40. Champagne charlie

    Fuck sake Pedro, what random word is on the banned list there?

    Banford

    You talk about Lacazette not being like Aguero, then say because he can’t create chances for himself via dribbling. Have you ever seen Aguero play?

    I find the Lacazette chat amusing because on one hand you’re saying how poor/immobile our wide players are, and in the next sentence lambasting Lacazette for his contributions as a CF.

    What are his goal/assist stats this season out of curiosity?

  41. Champagne charlie

    “You should try reading my fucking posts more carefully before you comment on them. It’s almost like you have some stupid fucking agenda to criticize comments you haven’t fully considered. Jesus Christ. What a fucking moron”

    There he is, the guy who gets all the savage abuse on here.

    Nice retort to someone picking at what you said and declaring a view that Lacazette is a superior CF to Firmino. Such fighting talk obviously to provoke that reaction…..

  42. Marko

    Pretty obvious that if Fornals is targeted then that almost certainly means that one or both of Ozil and Mhiki are off in the summer. Not exactly a Ramsey replacement considering he’s what 3rd choice CAM and 4th choice CM. I’m all for it a CAM with actual work rate

  43. Marc

    Marko

    My doubt with Ozil leaving is he’s not going to chuck such a huge deal away. I’d love to understand how Mikki could be an effective wide forward for Dortmund and so lousy for both us and ManU.

  44. Josip Skoblar

    Alassane Plea, Borussia Mönchengladbach (8 goals in 11 games this season so far in Bundesliga) and France, is big-big-big talent. Let’s make a move before he becomes the new MBappe…

  45. Marko

    Marc I keep hearing about how he won’t go because he’s on too good a wage we won’t be able to sell because he’s on too good a wage and nobody could afford him because he’s on too much of a wage like we’re literally stuck with him no matter what. I’m not convinced of that. I’m sure we can sell him we might have to accept a lesser fee and he might have to take a bump but if we made it clear he was going to be sold and we didn’t want him he’d have to go. Otherwise you could bench his ass in his 30’s see how he likes it and show the world what Ozil really cares about. He can be sold

  46. WengerEagle

    Plea was someone I mentioned on here a few weeks back as an example of an astute signing still able to be made on the cheap in this silly market place and it’s how we will have to conduct our business if we are to even stand a chance.

    Very good player ,although next M’Bappe? He’s already 25 so no chance of that. Could explode in his late 20’s though.

    Also not sure how TR7 can say that Firmino would be useless without Salah and Mane? He’s had a poor start to the season but he was fantastic all last campaign and better than Mane imo.

    At his best he’s not far off prime Benzema.

  47. WengerEagle

    Not mad on Fornals. Midget that struggles to get away from his marker and lacks running power, same physical limitations as Santi without Cazorlas skilset on the ball.

    Havertz has a much higher ceiling.

  48. WengerEagle

    Have to presume that United weren’t thick enough to not include a buy-back on Memphis?

    Been Lyons best player this season, even outshining everyone’s favourite Fekir.

  49. Champagne charlie

    Firmino at his best is not far off prime Benzema….? u wot fam

    Shouldn’t be drinking on a school night weagle lol

  50. WengerEagle

    Maybe a slight exaggeration CC but I only say that as a huge fan of Benz’s as well.

    Firmino scored 25 goals last season, 10 of which were CL. Also led the CL in assists with Milner. Cited by many Liverpool fans as the glue to their attacking unit and was a favourite of Klopp.

    He’s clearly a top player and that was my point really.

  51. Marko

    Don’t want to put a dampener on Pepe but 5 of his 8 goals have come from the penalty spot. Has padded those goalcoring stats considerably.

    I heard 4 of his 5 assists were with his left foot too. What a sham

  52. WengerEagle

    I’m half hoping Bailey has a Lemar-eque second season so he’ll be cheaper next summer.

    Then again was he just a one-season wonder then you have to ask?I like what he brings to the table personally, direct and a powerful/fast runner with sound technique and would finally give us a player that can come out on top of 1 vs 1’s more often than not.

  53. Graham62

    Pierre

    You started this all off(yesterday) by highlighting three players, Ozil, Mkhitaryan and Auba, our so called creative workforce.

    To avoid accepting defeat you then start bringing in other players.

    If you can’t see the difference between Lacazette and and OMA in work ethic and attitude then I’m afraid you are clueless.

    Secondly, irrespective of Wenger being out of the loop, as you assume, with regards the transfers of Auba and Mkhitaryan from Dortmund, he was responsible for them; as he was for every other Arsenal player up until the time he left.

    Mkhitaryan and Auba came basically because Wenger fudged things up with Sanchez. You may think that Wenger never sanctioned these moves, which may be the case, but believe me, because of his incredible ego and his desire for self preservation, they were still going to be his babies.

    The bottom line here is, whether you want to admit it or not, our creative players are struggling not because of Unai Emery, but because our previous manager constantly cocked up.

    Game, set and match? I don’t think so.

    Still struggling to get a service in play more like.

  54. Bob N16

    Graham, your logic is floored by your intense dislike of the previous manager.

    Your argument is that all players bought during his employment were his ‘babies’ and therefore his responsibility (with the Dortmund connection of PEA and Mkhitaryan this is a real leap of anti-faith). You argue that our ‘creative’ players lack work rate as opposed to Lacazette (not creative?!).

    Wait a minute, when was Lacazette purchased, oh yeah, during the previous mangager’s tenure. But he must be a ‘baby’ too.

    So if a player is doing well it wasn’t down to the previous manager but if he isn’t performing then he is. Says a lot about your ‘point of view’.

  55. Bob N16

    Oh and one other thing Graham. The contrast between your dislike of the old manager and your lack of critical judgement with Emery, highlights ‘your point of view’.
    Everybody accepts that Emery needs and deserves time. We are all happy that we are progressing, new players are making excellent contributions and some players are noticeably improved from last year. That doesn’t mean people can’t question the balance of the team and team selection. Accepted that we need a couple more windows to see an ‘Emery’ team.

    I hope the sun does shine out of Emery’s backside but your love in is embarrassing coupled with your dislike of the old manager. It’s like a teenager who is dumped by his first crush and then rebounds into the first girl who would have him and then has to hold hands every moment of the day.

  56. mysticleaves

    “I heard 4 of his 5 assists were with his left foot too. What a sham”

    haha. this got me. But really from what I have seen of Pepe is a player worth having. A Gervinho (when he was with us) with better focus and end product. He’d be great.

    Bailey for example has been sitting on the bench this season. Lemar hasn’t kicked on too.

    Weagle

    You are a fan of Firminio which is not bad but he’s not top quality at all. Infact I wouldn’t trade any of our cfs for him. Had high numbers last season but his numbers this season and previous seasons seems to show he has reverted to type

  57. TitsMcGee

    Granit Xhaka has been heaping praise on Unai.

    “It’s definitely my best season so far,”

    “Without doubt, I think I’ve taken another step forward.

    “It’s the best I’ve felt at Arsenal since I came to the club and the coach has had an enormous influence.

    “He prepares us all and we have a plan. We know how to do it with the ball and without the ball. We know how and when to stand where.

    “Emery is like Lucien Favre [whom Xhaka played for at Gladbach], a freak who pushes us back and forth, 10 times, until everyone understands. ”

    Music to my MF ears.

    A manager who actually coaches and not only has a plan but does more than just lip service like “go express yourselves”.

  58. Leedsgunner

    ““He prepares us all and we have a plan. We know how to do it with the ball and without the ball. We know how and when to stand where.”

    I welcome these comments too,but why then is Xhaka so error prone? That last goal that we conceded against Wolves was all down to him and his wayward passing and failure to track his player.

    Plus what about the late penalty conceded against Crystal Palace? Yes, he was playing in an unfamiliar position as an emergency left back, but you would have thought everyone would be on point not to do something stupid. I suppose you could say Zaha exploited the situation and dived… but still, where is the mental discipline not to switch off when you have grabbed a lead?

    Both Xhaka and Mustafi seem to be prone to more brain farts on a regular basis.

    The onus has to be on the players to learn from their mistakes and if they don’t, a coach has to be brave enough to apply the appropriate sanction.

  59. HighburyLegend

    Xhaka’s comment about Emery are pointless, knowing that he will stay a very limited player, no matter with who he works.

  60. Champagne charlie

    Weagle

    I was just ribbing you, I rate Firmino highly for all but is number of goal/assists which are typically middling. Last season he was super for them, but he’s not a 30 goal man, and is more brute force than technique.

    I was more defending prime Benzema, I think his eventual watering down he’s gotten at Real Madrid has left many unaware or forgetful of just how immense that guy was. For me, if he’d have went somewhere and been their number 1, he would be continually highlighted as the gold standard for CF’s.

    Not to say he isn’t rated by many, just that he often gets the Higuain treatment of casual remarks against his quality. I know you rate him however, i remember previous times you’ve said similar things to myself.

  61. Marko

    Benz should have joined Arsenal. He’d have likely come close to Henry’s record and we probably would have won a league title or two

  62. mysticleaves

    “I welcome these comments too,but why then is Xhaka so error prone? That last goal that we conceded against Wolves was all down to him and his wayward passing and failure to track his player.”

    Erm, I don’t think so. He let the ball run. Probably in anticipation someone was behind him. Idk.

    “but still, where is the mental discipline not to switch off when you have grabbed a lead?”

    Errr, he made a tackle against a winger that got at him directly and missed the ball. No sign of switching off there. That’s not even an “error” per say.

  63. Chris

    It is a shame two of Xhaka’s errors are repeatedly highlighted here, yet his overall improvement this season not so much.

    I’m not saying we can’t do better but credit where credit is due, he has got better with the direction and coaching he has mentioned himself.

    Mustafi also, has had better games this season and is clearly also benefitting.

  64. raptora

    Chris:
    “It is a shame two of Xhaka’s errors are repeatedly highlighted here”

    What about the goal that we conceded vs Wolves? Again his error.
    Multiple given away balls to Everton players that I’m not sure how they managed to not score from.

    He has it in himself, making extremely bad errors. Not sure how he’s going to remove it from his game or at least damage control it. He might have become better in other aspects of his game but being the direct person at fault for 3 goals in 12 rounds in the EPL and quite a few more that he got away with, at a position that is not even a CB, is nowhere near good enough.

    For instance people like Santi and Cesc who were doing his job in moving the ball ahead from our half of the pitch and much, much more and honestly they have to be the standard that we are looking for, people like them were probably directly at fault for 3 opposition goals every 100 games they’ve played. Xhaka only needed 12. And was lucky not to get punished more.

  65. Graham62

    Tits

    Also “music to my ears”.

    Of course, I almost forgot, Emery is to blame though for some of our “creative players” struggling at present.

    Silly me.

    Game, set and match to Pierre and BobN16.

    Lol!!!

  66. mysticleaves

    Are we going to start crucifying players for conceding penalties now? Apart from the goal against Wolves Xhaka has been very good for us this season. He can lose the ball in the middle so can every other player. Xhaka will soon leave arsenal so that you guys can move on to another player.

  67. Bamford10

    Apologies for that little rant, TR7. I’m just tired of all of the stupid harassment I get on here. Your criticism of my comment was dumb — given that I didn’t say what you were criticizing me for saying — but it didn’t deserve the hair-dryer treatment. My bad.

  68. Bamford10

    Mystic

    “Are we going to start crucifying players for conceding penalties now?”

    If the tackle or foul is a dumb one, then yes, of course. That is what you do when players do dumb things: criticize them for it.

  69. raptora

    Torreira just came in and in under 3 months of playing has shown us the proper standard of class that we have to look out for. It looks like his advantages far, far outweight his disadvantages (height). He’s given us more than we thought even. Especially his forward passing game has been absolutely vital to our team. He looks like someone that would be an automatic starter in our team for thr next 5 years plus. Young, can get better. Why not even become the world’s best DM at some point?!

    He’s the type of transfer that we have to try and replicate. The approach of our scouting team, the transfer fee was perfect for us, so early in the window we knew that he’s coming. Up and coming star. Young, high, high ceiling.

    Fantastic job overall by the club on that one.

    Then you look at Xhaka. Too many problems. Slowish, tall but doesn’t use his size right like say a Vieira. Some of the fouls that he commit are absolutely stupid to the core of it. Rash. Doesn’t defend well, easy to get past by. Complete lack of awareness leading to goals for the opposition…

    His situation is so much different than that of Torreira. Imagine if we can get a similar class of a player to Torreira in Xhaka’s position. Someone to slot in like the Uruguayan did. We can do so much better than him.

  70. mysticleaves

    Bamford

    Are you saying Xhaka’s tackle on Zaha was dumb? If so, how else would he have approached the situation?

  71. Graham62

    Got to love Wenger’s comments on tweets deciding in game substitutions etc.

    Read into this as you like, but isn’t this his way of saying social media cost him his job?

    The master of deflecting blame………. Amazing!

  72. mysticleaves

    “Torreira just came in and in under 3 months of playing has shown us the proper standard of class that we have to look out for”

    I mean, I am not denying this but in that same period he has made like 3/4 forced or unforced errors that left the opponent with a clear sight lf goal. Only the keeper saved. Those it change his qualities? no

  73. Bamford10

    Mystic

    Well, if I remember it correctly, yes, it was a bit dumb. He stuck his leg out after a Zaha step-over, making it easy for Zaha to sell the contact and the penalty. I didn’t make a big deal of it in game — though others did — because Xhaka was being asked to play LB, which is not his position.

    He has been making dumb tackles since he arrived, though, and many of us here have highlighted them. This is something he does.

    He has been better this season, no doubt, but people are going to continue criticizing him when he makes mistakes, especially if they’re the kind of mistakes we have seen before many, many times.

  74. Bob N16

    Graham, blaming….your new favourite word!

    I never suggested that Emery should be blamed, I simply questioned whether it was reasonable to suggest he hadn’t quite got the balance right. You, because of your jaundiced antipathy towards the old manager, now won’t have a word said against your new ‘messiah’.

    You appear to be living in a’black and white’ world.

  75. Chris

    I get that people will continue to criticise Xhaka where they feel it is warranted, but it just seems that it is still the popular thing to do when put up next to his poorer performances last season and a lot of the good things he has been doing are not given a lot of recognition.

    For example the penalty give away and letting the ball run across him are the kinds of mistakes that other players have made, such as Torreira (who has been fantastic) but we were bashing Xhaka last season so it’s oh too easy to do it now forsaking the progress he has made.