Emery unites fans with desperately meek decision

by & filed under News Review.

He did it, he totally did it. Unai Emery finally bit down on the bullet he’s been hiding from for 3 months and made Granit Xhaka his captain.

What a joke. Arsenal fans, for once, unanimous in condemning the decision as calamitous.

What made the whole debacle even crazier is the charade around the decision.

Where are the 5 captains? Not that I believe in that method, but it’s indecisive to tell the world you’re delaying your 5, then you deliver a huge pivot.

Secondly, why leak to the press you’re running a vote? I’ll tell you why, he’s sharing the wrath of the fans with the players. He bottled making a decision on his own because he knew it’d go down like soiled nappy to the face, so he’s co-sharing the calamity. It’s as transparent as a Boris Johnson political strategy. Meeker than inviting your wife’s side piece  over for Christmas dinner.

Unai Emery is a poor leader. This decision will be the death of him. The moment is symbolic because it perfectly captures the essence of his tenure. Confused, indecisive and bland.

Granit Xhaka is a poor choice. This move has been made purely on the basis that he’s popular in the dressing room. That’s amateur hour selection criteria. Arsenal football club is not in a situation where we can be making decisions based on likability. Don’t give me ‘there are no leaders’ because if that’s the case, why was it not a top priority this summer? Did Raul and Edu sign this off?

A leader has be able to command respect with performances as an absolute basic. Xhaka is not a steady player. He is an error machine. He is a one-trick pony. He’s a delicate orchid that needs perfect conditions to perform. Even when the weather systems align with the soil PH, he is still always a moment away from letting off a mistake grenade under no pressure. He has so many limitations, he’s become a tactical opportunity more ripe for the picking than the short goal kicks.  Not even for good teams, I’m talking Watford. Just pressure him and wait for him to break. Sometimes you don’t even need to pressure him. His off the ball work is bad enough to gift you opportunities.

The clear learning from the weekend, when we were overrun by Aston Villa, was that our best midfield does not include him. The Premier League demands power, pace, and high levels of concentration from a midfielder. Xhaka has been a clear weakness for us and now he will be an automatic starter for the rest of the season.

Bigger picture, my problem is this.

The club is trying to build a high-performance culture. That is a Huss Fahmy thing from Team Sky. It is the creation of a perfectly timed Swiss watch. If there is a single cog, anywhere in the machine, that is even slightly off… it doesn’t keep time. At the centre of our high performance culture is a player that the fans boo at half time for good reason. This decision is not a serious one. It runs counter to the clubs longterm aspirations. It sets an incredibly bad tone to the rest of the club.

Defective cogs impact the whole machine. They pollute the culture. They make perfectly good parts of the machine underperform. I simply cannot believe the exec team at Arsenal does not see this.

I can’t blame the players. Who’d pick someone that’d give them a rough ride? They’ve picked comfort, which is exactly the mindset I thought we were moving away from.

If Holding, Hector, and Matteo weren’t ready, give it to someone inoffensive but elite, like Auba. I would even take Luiz over Xhaka, at least he has pedigree at the highest level. There is no excuse for this. It’s not a future-facing decision. It doesn’t help with leadership. It fucks us tactically. It sours the mood of fans who won’t accept it. It is a damaging blow to Emery’s already sagging credibility with the fans.

What a disappointing turn, but I repeat, not unexpected.

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331 Responses to “Emery unites fans with desperately meek decision”

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  1. Bojangles


    That’s a good read. I was not a Un**ed fan before that period (other than the Buzby Babes who were a great team) but that was the time I started to hate them,even more than Spuds. I still do to this day

  2. Graham62


    Have read through your excellent post again this morning and you are right “There is no excuse for this”

    The thing is, which no one has touched on, is this a deliberate ploy by the players to screw Emery?

    By voting for Xhaka they have picked a captain who, they all know, is disliked by the fans and is culpable for so many of our problems on the field of play. It’s like them saying to Emery-

    ” Ok, we’ll choose the captain but we’ll make sure it causes you(Emery) as much disruption as possible until you finally realise that your methods are not working and that we have zero faith in your abilities to lead us forward”

    Does it go that deep?

    Surely not.


    Japan giving Ireland a tough game.

  3. Northbanker

    Good post Pedro
    But I still didn’t like reading it cos it makes my blood boil
    We need to constantly boo Xhaka at every possible point and start the very visible Emery Out campaign
    Fan power must prevail

  4. Nelson

    Assigning Xhaka as captain is a reminder to Arsenal fans that Emery wants to win 5 – 4 instead of 1 – 0 . This is the only explanation why Emery ignores the fact that Xhaka is very weak defensively. It also explains why he signed D. Suarez instead of a defender last January.

  5. Pierre

    “The thing is, which no one has touched on, is this a deliberate ploy by the players to screw Emery?,”

    My comment yesterday on hearing that Xhaka is to be made captain.

    PierreSeptember 27, 2019 12:48:51.
    “I am a little sceptical about this vote for the captain though it could be a cunning plan by the players to dispose of a Emery.”

    It is not beyond the realms of possibility that players such as Ozil and Mustafi have voted strategically….and who could blame them .

  6. UTarse

    You like your conspiracy theories don’t you ?!

    They’re footballers mate, most are thick, Machiavellian ploys maybe a tad beyond their levels of cunning !

  7. Northbanker

    Utarse I’m with you mate. No deep meaning here – they’re footballers simply voting for the bloke they like most off the pitch. That why the bulk of them will not be managers at any decent level

  8. Francis Martinos

    Don’t know why in all this choice of captaincy Lacazette’s is not mentioned. For me he’s the perfect guy. Consistent performer and vocal.

    Besides, I wouldn’t blame the players. The vote was cast in secret.

  9. Champagne charlie


    I’m not “reaching” for any performances, I made a simple reference to a good performance that wasn’t acknowledged because of an already established negative view.

    I’m well aware of the state of our side the last few years and you’ll forgive me for not being a complete dunce and laying that at the feet of a player.

  10. Un na naai


    On scoffing at the idea that there is a secret formula
    Is this to say that you don’t think emery has the metal to find the right combination or you do t think the combination exists within our midfield currently?

  11. Ray in LA

    fine quote from Hector Bellerin in Amy Raphael’s new book…

    “I’ve always loved the kits because I used to play as Arsenal on the PlayStation. So, when I signed for them, I already had a connection. I don’t hate Tottenham because they told me to hate them. I hate them because I love Arsenal.”

    it’s a good interview extracted in the Grauniad…


  12. Champagne charlie


    I’m saying simply arranging or picking a “best” XI isn’t going to matter for shit under Emery because there’s no education of roles, no collective plan, no patterns, and frankly no idea what’s going on when we don’t have the ball.

    So pick your fave midfield 3, pick and choose whatever defenders you like, play whoever you fancy up front, but the systemic issues with the side will remain and all that can happen are individual traits covering in some aspects, and being exposed in others.

    Which is why I scoff about Xhaka becoming public enemy number one. Mustafi was it last season and we’ve seen this year the issue obviously was simply him and his faults, the same will be proven with Xhaka, the same for the next player to get fans on his back and continue. The issue is coaching, was in Wengers latter stages, has been all along under Emery.

  13. China1

    CC but what’s the point of highlighting one good game if it’s surrounded by 20 bad ones?

    No one credits it because no one cares – because even a broken clock is right twice a day and even a shit player will occasionally play okay. It’s not impressive

    And you suggest the players have no culpability in the quality of our midfield? Are you suggesting only the manager has any hand whatsoever in the quality of the performance?

    Because you were defending wenger even when he built and put out some miserable teams right up until just before the end and I don’t recall it all being wengers fault to you in those days?

    Do you not find it odd at all that the huge majority of fans have been saying xhaka is a liability and not good enough since about 6 weeks after we signed him and yet you see something that almost no one else does?

    Usually the simplest explanation is the right one. The midfield got worse because we had bad managers combined with bad players. Xhaka is a mainstay in our worst midfield since forever and it’s not a coincidence because when you watch the guy he’s actually a bad footballer.

  14. HighburyLegend

    Most popular games of the moment at Manchester, ahead of monday’s game :
    1) guessing the minute when Granité will give them a penalty;
    2) guessing the minute when Granité will took his red card – because there was too much pressure + he was scared.

    Those who will be the closest of the exact times will win a signed poster of Wenger’s hidden son, in Spanish of course.

  15. Champagne charlie


    Yea, allow me not to be too interested in what you’ve got to say when all you can do is spout inaccurate tales of previous days.

    Feel free to believe wholly that our issues will be solved with Xhaka out the side, then move on to the next one when that’s proven incorrect. Rinse, repeat.

  16. Northbanker

    The coach’s ineptitude will be a permanent issue for us until Raul finally gets off his arse and sacks him (when he realises his job involved more than just summer signings)

    In the meantime Arsenal’s decline will be accentuated by choosing players such as Mustafi and Xhaka in his broken system

    Emery would delay his execution if he at least got team selection right, even where his tactics are awful

  17. Graham62


    Not just down to “coaching”

    Some players are just blessed with good fortune when it comes to reaching/playing at a certain level in the game.

    You can instill certain things through coaching but when a player has innate mental defiencies, there’s not too much you can do about it.

    Xhaka is one of those players that’s obviously built his career through hardwork, which I’m not disputing, but he comes across as someone who believes he is far better than he actually is.

    Just another opinion.

  18. grooveydaddy

    “Arsenal will play two protectors – to my amazement, Granit Xhaka will still be in, but I would go with Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi. I would be happy with Dani Ceballos and then Bukayo Saka, Nicolas Pepe and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. It is that easy and simple for Arsenal.”

    It looks like the real Champagne Charlie doesn’t much of our captain either….

  19. Marko

    Yea, allow me not to be too interested in what you’ve got to say when all you can do is spout inaccurate tales of previous days.

    Xhaka wasn’t that good against Frankfurt. They had about 20+ attempts and at various times waltz through our midfield. How could that happen while Xhaka had a good game. It’s reimagining and it’s biased not for the first time.

    Feel free to believe wholly that our issues will be solved with Xhaka out the side

    I dunno about wholly but for example this past summer or next January/Summer we replace him with someone like Partey or Marc Roca or Sangare etc we would improve the midfield absolutely. It’s basic common sense you replace someone with someone else who’s better and you will improve.

  20. S Asoa

    The team is selected by the Manager ,and the tactics are all of Unai.
    Selecting a Catastrophe like Xhaka as Captain might be Emery’s masterstroke to deflect the blame of defeats to the Scapegoat Xhaka.
    Truly Spanish Waiter might be mediocre, but like most middle management imbeciles Emery is loaded with political chicanery- like the earlier Le Imbecile

  21. Bamford10


    “Feel free to believe wholly that our issues will be solved with Xhaka out the side.”

    This is a straw-man argument. No one here believes that all of our issues will be solved with Xhaka out of the XI. Most here do believe, however, that we are better without him in the XI. Do you believe this?

  22. Bamford10

    Bellerin is playing with the u-23s today today, while Tierney and Holding are not. This may mean that the latter two are in Emery’s XI for Monday, which would be excellent.

  23. Cesc Appeal

    Holding and Tierney in the line up on Monday will hopefully prove to be a huge boost for us.

    The RB position is still an issue though because Bellerin won’t be ready and really we shouldn’t rush him back into things. He could either injure himself or have a really bad game not being fit and up to speed and dent his confidence going forward.

    With Rashford out though I don’t know what they will have out wide, James floats from wing to wing and Martial might play there if Greenwood is played as the media suggests.

    You just know Lingard and Greenwood are in line for a great game, always the way with us. My worry though is Lingard usually causes us problems and if he just sits on Xhaka physically he will be able to charge by him all game.

    Chambers deserves a start but he does suffer against very pacey and direct wingers. That said AMN is a disaster of a player. Bit stuck there.

    Midfield for me would be Torreira at CDM, Willock and Guendouzi at CM. Lots of energy to shut United down and to assist in attack with Willock’s late runs into the box, especially with Tierney’s crossing ability that could be a weapon.

    But we all know Xhaka will be playing CDM. Causes massive issues. A lot of work for Holding on his return because Xhaka will offer no cover at all and it’s a lot of work for the player next to Xhaka to cover the ground 2 men are supposed to but Xhaka can’t.

    If for some reason Emery has to play him, then play Willock and Guendouzi with him because they have the legs to cover for his failings. I like Torreira, but he’s not got the mobility of those 2 or their engine.

  24. Valentin

    Sheffield United, a promoted club looks better organised against Liverpool than Arsenal did.
    Good movement in midfield.
    With a more clinical striker than Calum Robinson, they may even be ahead.
    After 39 minutes, Liverpool still does not have a single attempt on target.

  25. Marko

    Tierney potentially starting is great news. I don’t think he’s going to start with Holding expect that god awful greek to start again. Who he starts with at RB is going to be huge for me. He reverts to type and starts AMN instead of Chambers and I’m done with him he can drop dead. There’s so many basic personnel changes he can make right now and the most glaringly obvious one is take AMN out of the team

  26. Champagne charlie

    Our coaching issues are evidenced further than Granit fucking Xhaka, far beyond a player or two, but what’s notable is how the players have become the overriding subject of our fortunes instead of apt leadership. That’s a direct result of that particular absence seen since early Wenger days.

    Now very few players are apparently up to the mark whereas at other clubs you have 6/10 players being made to look 8/10 through elite management. It was the tale of last season and the murmur of this season. This is perpetuated by the usual lot who can’t see anything outside of a squad turnover as means of “improvement”.

    I’ve stated on numerous occasions that you can pick whatever XI you like, the overriding influence is the lack of organisation, bum tactics, meek approach, beta-Male character infused by the man you, and “most here”, spent over a year backing to the hilt.

  27. Graham62

    With Xhaka out of the side, two things will improve.

    1. The players will be far happier.
    2. The fans will be far happier.

    One can dream.

  28. Graham62


    Not disputing that Emery comes across as a substandard coach.

    Just highlighting something that is pretty obvious to most people.

    Xhaka is a legend in his own mind.

  29. Cesc Appeal


    If Martial is out that is great news.

    I knew Rashford was likely out but not the other 2.

    With Pogba out as well it is even more reason to play serious energy and mobility in midfield and just own the centre.

    Really is Rashford, Pogba and Martial are all out we should be winning this. You know Lingard will play well against us and anytime a player is struggling for form Arsenal usually gift it to them. Also worries me given his attributes are speed etc and he will likely be guarded by Xhaka.

    Emery cannot be negative, need to take it to them from the off, the crowd will be ready to turn toxic and we need to let them within the first 15 minutes.

  30. Champagne charlie


    Why would the players vote Xhaka as captain if they’d be happier with him not playing?

    You make real light work of this logic malarkey.

    Xhaka a legend in his own mind? I think you ought to take more responsibility for your own views instead of falling back on fake consensus. How and why is that apparently obvious to most?

  31. Un na naai


    You don’t think that electing the right combination even under emery could improve our performance against even lower opposition and reduce the awful amount of space and shots we are conceding?

    So if we are leaving xakha at the base and expecting our two more advanced midfielders to pull wide to protect our weak fullbacks then that leaves xakha with too much space to cover

    Perhaps Torreira in that role would be better than xakha and let xakha and Guendouzi play in front and pull wider when necessary to help full backs?
    You don’t think it would have a more positive result than expecting xakha to do a job he’s clearly unsuited to?

    All other tactics and framework aside. If you swap Torreira and Xakha this surely would offer better results?

  32. Graham62


    There’s been no logic in what has been happening at AFC these past few days.

    Do you understand human nature?

    Granit Xhaka typifies the traits of someone who is in denial.

    “No it’s not my fault. I’m blameless”

    Oops sorry, now I get why you can’t see it.

  33. Marko

    I mean it stands to reason if you have better players playing you will improve irrespective of the manager. Can’t imagine we’d be seeing the same struggles in games if we had the man city team even if Emery was still manager. There’s ways right now to improve us through picking the right personnel and through replacing certain personnel. That people can’t see that and just think replacing one person will be resolving our issues well that speaks to something else

  34. Un na naai

    Champagne charlieSeptember 28, 2019 13:17:49
    Our coaching issues are evidenced further than Granit fucking Xhaka, far beyond a player or two, but what’s notable is how the players have become the overriding subject of our fortunes instead of apt leadership. That’s a direct result of that particular absence seen since early Wenger days.

    Cc and Graham

    This is true. And I count the days until emery leaves. I do think that simple changes in lineup could yield more positives though regardless of his inept tactics

  35. Un na naai

    That doesn’t necessary include dropping xakha but swapping him and Torreira. It would be a start

    With all the only spent on emery in the last two years plus having Ramsey, Lacazette and Aubameyang to walk into your expect a lot better than he’s managed to drum up

  36. Champagne charlie


    No I don’t, not beyond player-centric characteristics that will help and hinder at particular aspects.

    What you advocate there is more akin to a change of tactic anyway, one that I’m more in favour of than the double pivot given our options.

    A two-man midfield base with a Ceballos ahead isn’t a good fit imo, would sooner have a link with two CM players shepherding the bulk of the midfield space. But that’s edging toward competent coaching et al so it’s all rather academic as I see it.

    How do you compare Torreira and Xhaka, I’m curious how you’d analyse both. Personally I don’t see the improvement gained from swapping Torreira for Xhaka, I think it’s more of an idea than a reality.

  37. Bamford10


    That’s an evasion. Of course those things are important — though I disagree that Emery has always gotten all of those things wrong — but so too is selecting the best eleven players. So again: should Xhaka be in the starting XI, in your opinion?

  38. G8

    The only logic explanations of why the players voted for xhaka as a captain is that no other one wants to take responsibility.
    Also they don’t see ozil as a captain material
    One thing i know for sure is the team will look more composed without xhaka and AMN
    Sheffield doing well against the dippers so far, but it’s different thing if they were playing at Anfield
    Still think the dippers will nick it..
    Hopefully not!

  39. Batistuta

    The Liverpool game was weeks ago…Highlighting constantly how every team that plays them look “more organized” is just plain weird at this stage. Move on please

  40. Champagne charlie


    As thought, you’ve nothing to quantify your opinion it just exists as it is. Trust the old whopper to descend to juvenile quips, no cape but you’re still a hero.

  41. HillWood

    I agree that Emery is a bit shit with his systems and tactics
    If you were head coach how would you change this to get the best from Mr Xhaka

  42. Pierre

    Play 4-2-3-1….if played correctly it will provide protection for the full backs and protection for the centre backs .

    Pepe wide right , saka wide left , Aubameyang up top .

    Ceballos/ozil behind , no doubt it will be Ceballos ….

    2 holding midfielders , can choose any 2 from the 4 available as long as they are disciplined and don’t get ahead of the ball too often ( unless we are chasing the game).

    Definitely no diamond formation…..

    So I suppose we should expect the diamond.

  43. Paulinho

    Rashford is absolute shit so him being out is a blow for us, not United. He would do his hyper-active ten year old routine for about ten minutes, and then spend the rest of match attempting to impersonate Cristiano Ronaldo. And not very well.

    Greenwood can actually shoot with both feet, go either way, so he will actually be a threat in and around the box if we drop deep and back off, so again, it will be dressed up as an advantage Rashford and Pogba being out, but it will undoubtedly work against us. They will sit deep and be more compact without Pogba, and be less open.

  44. Valentin

    According to some Sheffield United must really have better players than Arsenal to give Liverpool a more difficult game than Arsenal.
    Less shot conceded and more shot on target.
    Noting to do with better organisation and clear instructions.

  45. Champagne charlie


    No, an evasion is when you’re addressed by myself over something and ignore because you don’t want your opinion challenged. Something you’ve done a couple of times since being reintroduced, and numerous times prior.

    What you’re doing now is attempting to parade over an unpopular view I have, because despite your absence the traits remain. My views aren’t hidden on Xhaka, I even made reference above in response to Unaai. What I won’t do is play your boring game.

    That should clear up any confusion you might have. I’ll await the rousing summation you like to make to the crowd.

  46. Un na naai


    Tenacious tackler. Aggressive. Fairly quick over short distance. Decent passer. Happy to sacrifice any notion of attacking play for the good of then team (low in ego)
    Short and stamina issues
    The most well equipped candidate to shield our defence.


    Good vision and pass execution. Looks to release attacks as early as possible. Only player in our team (bar Luiz now) who offers early and accurate, medium to long range passes. Never hides.
    Slow, poor ability on the ball when closed down. Rash decision making when under pressure and petulant when beaten by a runner

    In short I see the two of them being entirely misused. I’ve stated this countless times. Last season in the 23 game run both were operating at a much higher level due to our set up and their roles within the team.
    Emery abandoned that and they’ve both been poor since.

  47. Champagne charlie


    I think our CM is a real issue for suitability tbh, but I’d have Xhaka between defence and midfield with Guendouzi and Torreira operating ahead. Similar setup to Juve when they flank a deep passer with industry. I see Guendouzi as the future player in this role personally, and have long considered him a player for us to build around.

    It would involve fullback positions, the license each player has with the ball and without, the gaps each player needs to fill in certain eventualities. The shape we’d take in possession vs out etc. But simply picking an XI won’t change anything, the team would need to operate in such a different way it’s too much to reference in a comment on a blog.

    As I’ve noted numerous time, the basics seem utterly absent and from there it’s almost a waste of time.

  48. Champagne charlie


    I’d agree with most of that, though I’m not convinced Torreira is as disciplined as you suggest, nor more capable of handling a press than Xhaka.

    I see both as immobile players in their immediate surroundings, with Torreira being better at anticipating and intercepting passes, their tackling prowess isn’t distinguishable, but one is a unit and that helps in the prem, Xhaka is considerably better with the ball, and he’s a much better communicator.

  49. Batistuta

    Beating the same drum for weeks now there Valentin, there’s a consensus now that we’re badly coached, starting to sound like Pierre with the Ozil thing

  50. TR7

    Emery and his lack of tactics and system is a massive problem and I can’t wait to see him get sacked but playing Xhaka week in week out further compounds the problem. Anyway perhaps it’s a blessing in disguise, the sooner the Spaniard goes the better.

  51. Batistuta

    Jeez Charlie, your last post, didn’t know Xhaka had all of that quality, shame his brain farts are much worse….. Jokes aside though, you’re like 1 out of a 100 Arsenal fans who still see an upside in Xhaka because there absolutely isnt any, not after him being here for what 3/4 seasons now

  52. Bamford10


    No, an evasion is when you avoid answering a question you don’t want to answer and proceed to talk about some other thing. This is what you’ve done above.

    As for questions you’ve posed to me, I have no idea what you’re talking about. I must not have read the posts in question. Pose the questions again, if you like. If they’re relevant, I’ll try to answer them.

    As for everything else you’ve said, it’s all very typical. You don’t like the direction a discussion is going, so you begin slinging insults at the other person. I’m not playing to any crowd; I was just describing the dominant POV here, and I was only talking about that because of the straw-man argument you resorted to above.

    Anyways, I’m not all that interested in getting bogged down in these kinds of arguments anymore. Le Grove is a lot more pleasant when one avoids them.

    Have a good day.

  53. Receding Hairline

    Valentin give it a rest… Sheffield united are at home and in case your memory has failed u we could have taken the lead at Anfield too. No two games are the same so the “look team A are giving them a better game routine” is petty nonsense.

  54. Receding Hairline

    Norwich beat city, Burnley beat Norwich, Arsenal have beaten Burnley so that means what exactly?

    Yea it means fcuk all

    Watching all Liverpool games and commenting about who is giving them a better game is an exercise in futility if they keep walking away with the same three points their victory over us earned them.

  55. G8

    The thing with Emery is no one would give a flying fuck if he is sacked tomorrow!
    And as expected dippers nicked it..literally!

  56. Un na naai


    Inshirt though his defensive attributes outrank Xakha’s.

    Xakha’s ability to see and execute the early forward pass trumps anything Torreira has further up field
    Surely it makes sense then to swap their positions?
    Or drop both and play willock and Guendouzi in front of chambers or Luiz

    On to my original point
    There are combinations there that work. We aren’t getting rid of emery until May at the earliest so the best we can hope for us that he gets his selection right at least because his tactics will always vary.

    I don’t disagree that we are disadvantaged before a ball is kicked due to his nonsensical approach to each individual game. I just hope that he gets his 11 as close to right as poss and improved his in game management
    It’s the best we can hope for until May as it gives every player the best chance of pulling a rabbit out themselves rather than his game plan taking front and centre

    Which it does
    Every single game

  57. Ishola70

    Fans brought up loving and worshipping Arsene Wenger are ok with having a midfielder who is shit off the ball.

    Only care about his on the ball possibilities.

    Shock horror.

  58. Marko

    Jokes aside though, you’re like 1 out of a 100 Arsenal fans who still see an upside in Xhaka because there absolutely isnt any, not after him being here for what 3/4 seasons now

    I’d say like 10,000. It’s strange that he sees something that most fans, pundits, ex players and football writers don’t see. He’s universally unpopular and acknowledged as a bad signing by mostly everyone. If you were to take what certain people say seriously you’d think that we have a brilliant midfielder on our hands but anyone who’s watched Arsenal the last 3+ seasons know this to be untrue. I also don’t think bringing up the negatives of other midfielders has anything to do with the discussion of Xhaka. It’s like bringing up the Taliban when you’re discussing your wife’s awful cooking

  59. HillWood

    Sounds like you see Xhaka as a quarterback in American Football
    Defensive mids protecting while he sprays passes around the pitch ?

  60. Ishola70

    The hyprocisy is unreal.

    Posters complain about how shit the defence still is but still have a shout out for a player who is shit defensively sitting right bang in front of the defence.

    We don’t want to hear these hypocrites complaining any more when Arsenal ship far too many goals again this season while at the same time still having time for a player who is a defensive liability.

  61. Valentin


    “there’s a consensus now that we’re badly coached”

    Go and read Marko’s comment. It’s the players fault.

  62. Graham62


    It’s down to better organisation and playing to the strenghs of the players/team(subtle hint Mr Emery).

    Sheffield United were very impressive, as they have been in all their games so far this season.

    Chris Wilder doing a sterling job.

  63. Ghost

    Michael Owen- Strikers believe they have to strike everything but they don’t need to strike it all the time sometimes they need to miskick it…….

  64. Marko

    One of my biggest issues with regards to the whole Xhaka discussion is this perception that he’s good on the ball and in possession and yet 9 times out of 10 we’re overrun in Midfield with very little control. How is that when he’s supposed to be this great passer and influencer with the ball at his feet? It’s a ludicrous misconception at this stage. Since he’s joined our midfield hasn’t gotten better but worse and we’ve rarely seen dominant controlling performances from the midfield. That’s two seasons under Wenger and going on two under Emery btw so no not just Emery

  65. Bamford10


    Even at that, Xhaka is only “good” on the ball when he’s given loads of time and space. Under pressure or in tight spaces, he’s poor. So even saying he’s “good on the ball” is over-generous.

  66. Valentin


    Sheffield United are well organised, well drilled. Chris Wilder is showing what can be done with tactical acumen and hard work with a team of limited players. They look better than the sum of their parts.
    I still think that they will be relegated, because they don’t have a proper striker. They will lose by the odd goal, nothing disgraceful but ultimately they won’t score enough goals to win the required number of games.
    This year is the first time where a few new (at that level) British managers are showing that not all British managers are dinosaur with hoof tactic.

  67. Champagne charlie

    Yea I’m not in favour of the midfield two idea we deploy, I explained more of how I see it to Hillwood. I’d have both in the side at the expense of Ceballos who I fail to see the point of (we aren’t an attacking side that needs that sort).

    I guess so, but I’m not a lover of one-dimensional roles like a DM as a “pure” DM etc. It’d be more a case of arranging them to suit what I see them doing well at and having the respective roles defined as per the numerous possibilities likely throughout a match. But in short, I like three vs two in the middle with what we have.

    I don’t need a lecture off you pal, let’s get that clear in case you’ve forgotten that since being on the naughty step. Nor am I going to rehash anything from another day so you can decide if it’s “relevant” enough for you to answer. That sort of talk just underlines how you’re exactly the same whopper that left a year ago. Countdown until you inevitably crown someone else the king of cunts commences.

  68. Ishola70

    True Marko and Bamford

    Xhaka doesn’t give the midfield enough control and domination enough times if we are talking about him on the ball. Hardly ever actually.

    Anyway this latest decision from Emery should be seen as the final sign that he is better out of the door and gone.

    As Nelson suggested Emery looks to have no difference in outlook to Wenger in regards to trying to improve defence. No real interest. It’s a continuation of Arsene Wenger FC without the pretty football Wenger offered.

  69. HillWood

    I can see this “quarterback “thing working when we have possession at the back
    But for me he has proved himself a liability when we are under attack

  70. Bamford10

    “Bellerín completed 90 minutes for the u23s in a very competitive and physical match against Liverpool. That will do him a lot of good, one assist too.” – Dan Critchlow, of the Daily Cannon

  71. Bishans

    “Don’t know why in all this choice of captaincy Lacazette’s is not mentioned. For me he’s the perfect guy. Consistent performer and vocal.Besides, I wouldn’t blame the players. The vote was cast in secret.”
    You are absolutely right.
    When rumours of the captaincy vote emanated, I thought for a minute about who is the perfect fit. I struggled for names till I remembered Lacazette.
    The only reason why I think Emery wouldn’t consider him is because he is having trouble utilizing both him and Auba in the team.
    I saw a thread on Reddit comparing Lacazette’s playing style with Firminho. If Emery has any imagination he should try playing him being Auba.
    But we all know that he will never attempt that because his love child Xhaka must be dropped for guendouzi and Torreira to play behind an attack with Laca, Auba,Nelson and Pepe.

  72. Ishola70

    At least Emery hasn’t kidded anyone on.

    He said he would rather win games with high scores with the opposition scoring.

    This is no different to Arsene Wenger.

    He is banking on just offense again just like his predecessor.

    We still await a coach that will make this team a real serious one.

    Emery is not that coach.

  73. Champagne charlie


    There’s no personnel counter to the defensive liability I’m afraid, and having Xhaka between defence and midfield isn’t a suggestion for him to be the defensive lynchpin of the side. Out of possession I’d sooner the two CM tuck and Xhaka move forward to CM to jockey the play of it comes central.

  74. Receding Hairline

    Lacazette is not like Firmino at all

    That ridiculous comparison really should have been put to rest long ago. Different type of players.

    This Xhaka outrage has gone on long enough….the manager has made his bed let him lie on it. 80% of you want him out, they should be joy rather than this pageant to see who is more outraged than the other going on since yesterday.

  75. Dissenter

    I don’t think Marko is trying to protect Emery with his assertions that having better players is helpful.
    Westham look like a different team from two seasons ago mainly because they have better players. Having a better manager has helped them too.

  76. Champagne charlie


    You keep nibbling away about Xhaka, at what point are you going to accept I don’t share the same view as you? You think he can’t defend, I think that’s an overstated sentiment based on his obvious errors.

    Also, I said I don’t like one-dimensional roles, Xhaka is a player, not a role.

  77. Champagne charlie

    Emery needs more than that mate lol

    You’re wrong. He said if Allegri was appointed tomorrow we’d see “little to no improvement”. He doesn’t believe in coaching.

  78. Ishola70

    “Westham look like a different team from two seasons ago mainly because they have better players”

    2-1 to Bournemouth lol

  79. Bob N16

    CC. I’ll stop now but when you use words like ‘scoff’ when referring to the value of midfield combinations and then at the same time, fight the corner of a limited player, you must see how your language and angle can be seen as provocative.

    Most of the time I tend to agree with your POV when you get into your arguments with other posters, in this case I’m ‘nibbling’ as you put it because I think you’re mistaken, nothing personal.

  80. Champagne charlie


    What do you make of the word “scoff”? Seems an odd one to nitpick. When I say scoff I’m casually dismissing the idea that a change in XI will yield any change because I think there’s more overriding an issue. Nothing more than a ‘nah I don’t think it matters who’ type scenario.

    I’m fine with you disagreeing with me, I don’t take it personally at all. Only reason I labelled it as such is because it didn’t appear you were discussing anything, just making a bit of a snide remark as an ellipsis often suggests. Apologies if I took that the wrong way, it is Le Grove after all so forgive the misinterpretation.

  81. Guns of Hackney

    Has my man been sacked yet?

    Mulling over that captaincy decision has to rank up there with some of the worst decisions over the last decade of incompetence. Absolutely rivals some of Arsene’s bizarre decisions for pure lunacy. Worse.

    He’s got to go. Has to. Put Freddy in for the season and get a proper manager in.

    I’m not even angry, just apathetic. Silly.

  82. Guns of Hackney

    Went into Nottingham today with the family. Woah. Shithole. Fair enough, a Saturday is never a good day to shop but fuck me. The people!

    We sought refuge in John Lewis…but we couldn’t stay too long as normally those visits can cost hundreds.

    Anyone see National Lampoons vacations? “roll em up”. It’s like that.

  83. Ishola70

    Are Chelsea going to go through 90 minutes without conceding a goal?

    If they tighten up a bit they could be a little headache for the top four spots.

  84. Guns of Hackney


    I have never been there…and I’m not planning to either.

    Newcastle was a strange one. I never saw a normal couple there. Honestly…just groups of lads and femmes on the raz. I don’t think there are married couples in the north east.

    Chester was an eye opener. Wooo. I saw a man whose eyes were on the top of his head. Honestly, it was the strangest thing I’ve ever seen.

  85. Graham62

    Problem is far too many people from these shitholes go abroad to create new shitholes in places that weren’t shitholes before we Brits made them into shitholes.

    You know the type.

    Loud, obnoxious , disrespectful, ignorant and usually pissed out of their head.

    Rule Britannia !!

  86. Ishola70

    Big win for Spurs really.

    Before the game wouldn’t have thought so but going down to ten men and losing last week at Leicester not winning today not an option for them.

    All grouping up on 11 points now. If the unthinkable happens tomorrow night Arsenal, Spurs, Chelsea, Man United all equal on the 11 points.

  87. Graham62

    I was two when I left Chester in 1964.

    Luckily the spores in the air hadn’t entered my system by then.

    I’ve heard that you have to be live in these places for six years to get infected.

  88. Valentin

    Looks like 3-5-2 with 2 central midfield anchors is really the system that cause the most problem to Liverpool.
    Even when Firmino drops into midfield, the CBs covers both Mane and Salah. He can’t pick the ball and then run at the defense because even if he bypass one of the midfield anchors, then the spare CB can confront him.
    Also the two attackers are a threat on the counter attack, they can run into the channel vacated by the full back.
    I wonder if somebody in the premiership will be brave and switch to that system and successfully beat/contain them.
    In the Champion’s League, it is different because those clubs tend to have players as good as Liverpool in midfield or defense.

  89. Ishola70

    Need Leicester to slip up tomorrow as well.

    They are capable to hang around the fourth place spot as well if they get the confidence going.

  90. Chitom

    Graham62September 28, 2019 16:41:46
    Watford will be changing their manager again on Monday.Javi Garcia coming back


    Maybe CG could take over as their manager. He seemed to think they were a top six club with better strikers than Arsenal.
    If only Watford selected their squad based on players’ calves sizes they’d be up the standings in no time.

  91. Guns of Hackney

    Alas, Red truth has actually spoken the truth.

    Emery is an Arsenal man. Low ambition. Easy to manipulate and tows the line better than a line towing machine.

    That was weak.

  92. Bob N16

    Graham, do Leicester have a strong enough squad? I genuinely don’t know. If Vardy is injured for example, who plays? There first eleven is clearly competitive.

  93. Bob N16

    Can’t agree that Emery is ‘long haul’. Our ambition in the last transfer market and Edu’s arrival suggests we’re pushing on.

  94. China1

    ‘Xhaka’s ability to see and play the early pass trumps…’

    Hang on when the hell did xhaka play an early forward pass?

    He takes 5 seconds on the ball before his standard raking pass which always goes to someone in an unthreatening position…. because he’s too slow to see and play the pass before the opposition are back

    If xhaka’s one good passing attribute was complimented by quick vision he could be receiving the ball and release our wing forwards immediately just as cesc used to do on the regular. But he doesn’t. Because he has crap vision, is sluggish on the ball and can’t beat his man easily to shake up the circumstances in front of him.

    All he is good at, is receiving the ball in space and playing a pretty but harmless pass over the top to a winger

    Literally stop and pay attention to those pretty long balls he plays and count how many in the game actually make something happen as opposed to looking nice but being ultimately irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. You will be disappointed

  95. S Asoa

    Iwobi is the best player in Everton team. Looks like his wayward passing is corrected by Marcus de Silva. Demonstrates what a cabbage we havr as Manager.
    Good for the boy

  96. Kayciey

    Iwobi looking excellent so far.
    Unlucky for Theo to go off to injury so early.

    Noooo Iwobi is a fraud always in a haste to get the ball off regardless of where he’s passing the ball. We stole from Everton. Kean is much better.

  97. Guns of Hackney

    Hill wood is a pervert.

    Those rhubarb and custards were notorious as the the sweets Gary glitter, Rolf Harris and Jimmy Seville used to lure people.


  98. Globalgunner

    Iwobi a pointless passenger in any team. Glad we got rid. Everton seem to like our junk. They took Walcott too. Can we interest them in one shiny AMN?