Mikel Arteta is a Xhaka fanboy

by .

Well, this is awkward… Mikel Arteta is… a… Xhaka fan.

“When I was going from Arsenal to City to start coaching and we were looking in that position, he was one of the players on my list,”

“This is how much I liked him. I was happy when Arsenal signed him because I thought he was going to be a terrific player.

“ He has done some really good things and now he has got stuck in a very difficult situation that, I think, was growing and growing and growing and one day it exploded. But I have been amazed as well by how this relationship is starting to come back a little bit and I think the fans have been very, very positive about him. Obviously it is difficult to change completely the scenario from where he was to a magnificent one. But I think we are in the right direction with him.”

This certainly appears to be the dead body under the patio the entire exec team missed when they interviewed him late at night when it was clearly too dark to see!

I mean, there’s only one thing to do here, look for the light that shines on this turd the best.

There’s no one else in the squad that can play the better bits of Xhaka’s game like he does, so unless there’s a spare £50m in the pocket of the Kroenke’s, it’s very likely this is as good as we can do right now. Just to double down on the claim that we spent next summers money last summer, Raul said this to the press.

‘It is in general. The strategic window by definition is the summer window that’s when you plan the season ahead. ‘Last summer we did an incredible effort where we were very grateful to the support we got from our ownership.

‘We went really one step further and made a real investment that increased our expectations for the season.’

Doesn’t sound like he’s keen to splurge. I’m also not sure I trust the club to do good work in January, so unless there’s a player we can loan, I’d rather us save what little powder we have for sharp moves in 5 months time.

Back to Granit.

You either build him up, or you cut his throat right away. If we’re in the hearts and minds phase at the moment, there’s no one that needs as much heart as the player who told us to fuck off in a shit fit the other week. It’s also clear to anyone that’s been paying attention that Xhaka is a big personality behind the scenes… he managed to bulldoze his way to the most undeserving captaincy of all time. It makes sense that anyone who is feeling out the squad would give him a chance to make good on his ‘potential’ because he really does have to show some of the players his words mean something (they didn’t under Emery who flip-flopped).

I really do think we have to take a lot of the press talk with a pinch of salt over the next few weeks. Arteta has to win over big names in the squad and he has to make the best of the mess he picked up from Emery. I would imagine he’ll also fancy himself as a proper coach, he needs to have case study signed off over the next 6 months, no bigger player to take on than one of the most misunderstood (as in, WHAT DOES HE DO?) and mistake-ridden players of the decade.

This following quote kind of confirms my thinking, but as it’s Boxing Day, I’ll be honest, I read the below quote and built my blog around it to make it seem like I’m insightful.

“I don’t want to change everything drastically in two days,”

“I want to put my feelings slowly, I want to see what is going around, and in the right moment I will make the decisions for the benefit of the team and the club. At the moment I don’t think it is the right time, with the amount of games coming up and the amount of things that have to be done, to change too many things.”

The most important thing for today is the win (also insightful). Bournemouth is in a mess, they’ve won 2 games in 8 and lost the rest. Sure, they beat United and Chelsea in that time, but they’ve been awful. Their confidence is shot to pieces, they’ve conceded 10 in their last 6. Literally the worst team in the league right now… but remember, we are normally a gift for struggling managers, and it’s not a given that we’ll get a new manager bounce.

That said, we are still only 4 points off 5th –  if we beat Chelsea, we’ll be 3 points away from top 4 at the start of January, which is unreal. There is certainly a very real chance we could make a power play for the Champions League this season if Areta gets things to click. Again, it feels unrealistic considering the drama, the contracts and the confidence… but hey, crazier things have occurred. Spurs are going to be up and down, Jose struggling to impact them like you’d have thought. Chelsea boasts a young squad with a young manager that will be inconsistent, and United are shite.

I still think the brief to Mikel is simple… find out who is worth keeping, deliver a quick appraisal of the kids, and lay the foundations for next season.

“The context is very important, and the context right now, here, is not Manchester City. It is completely different. So I can’t demand the players to do some things because I will expose them and that is the last thing I want to do. I want to give them confidence, reassurance and guidance. But slowly, slowly, slowly, hopefully we will get to where I want.”

Today is a huge first step and it’s exciting. However, I want to stress over and over, the next 6 weeks are going to be very difficult. We could well be replacing 7 first-team players this summer, he has to find out if the kids have the mustard he needs, and he has to win over the fans. Arteta has to somehow build a culture, lay technical foundations, and make brutal decisions all without a preseason.

Bear with it… it’ll come good. I’m certain. See you in the comments and listen to my podcast if you were rude enough not to have already.


939 Responses to “Mikel Arteta is a Xhaka fanboy”

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  1. Unai

    Wont argue with you too much on this Bamford but the current united squad are not much better than us, if at all.

    It’s one if the worst united teams for a long time, OGS, has done ok with them to be fair but hes had time whereas Arteta has had days.

    We have a higher ceiling, injurys excluded.

  2. Useroz

    Talking about getting top 4 and relegated is academic yet is similar in many ways.

    24 points from 19 so should have 48 for the season…

    Would Arteta special sauce improve on that tally? Not sure. People would have expected we beat BOU too.

    If we can’t routinely beat teams ‘below’ us, it going to be hell. Our pampered players aren’t built to scrap and fight relegation.

    On the flip side, top 4 may not strictly mean 79 points as some suggest. It’d be relative to how shit the 3 to 6 place teams play out. The current gap to Chelsea is case in point.

    But this is academic. We’d all see how we do on the pitch and opinions will vary.

    May be few moments yesterday we appeared to play slightly differently. (tho not necessarily better) but again this was BOU… Whether Wenger, Emery, Arteta, you, me in charge, should get a win there with the ‘quality’ on show, no?

    Laca was atrocious and flunked a half dozen chances with a clear 1 v 1. It ain’t matter what sauce Arteta put out there it’s just poor. Despite 4 goals in 5 or 6 apps Laca has an unacceptably low goal return as a ‘top’ striker. I believe Martinelli is our 2nd highest goal scorer atm.

  3. Bamford10


    Why are you so hung up on whether this United team is as good as this or that United team of the past? Who cares. That is totally irrelevant. The relevant question is whether they have more quality and athleticism than we do, and the answer is they do: loads more.

    As for what quality they do have, you clearly haven’t been watching them. Rashford, Martial, Greenwood, Wan Bissaka, McTominay, James, Maguire, Lingard, Shaw, Lindelof. These are good players. They may not be the United of old — again, who cares? — but they are better players than what we have.

    I’m sorry, but you’re working with false and superficial impressions and generalizations.

  4. Bamford10


    “We have a higher ceiling, injuries excluded.”

    This is completely wrong. They have way more talent, quality and athleticism than we do. Way more. This will become more evident in time.

    Let’s just agree to disagree for the moment; we can circle back to this at a later point.

  5. China1

    If you swapped their squad for ours you’d be telling us that auba laca martinelli pepe ozil torreira Leno tierney holding and bellerin are good players too

    But then to admit that we do have more than enough talent to be doing much better than we are (and actually we could have easily been above utd again this season with this squad) means you’d have to accept a certain Mr emery was tanking due in some large part to his own failures

    And admitting that is not part of the agenda, so endless player poverty at arsenal will be the excuse for why we’re behind this forgettable utd team

  6. Guns of Hackney

    Two quicks about our mega forwards (coughs up coffee).

    1. Laca is not very good. Squad player at best or sell.

    2. Auba scores but does nothing during a game. While some would say that ‘only goals count’…not in today’s game. He does not occupy defenders. Lazy, unskillful and his attitude stinks. Sell for big money.

    As for the rest…meh. Arteta is using this season as a fact finding mission, so relax. I think it’s obvious that plenty of the first team want out and that’s fine! If we can secure £150m-£200m in player sales, the rebuild can start. I don’t think that number is too outrageous.

    Clearly this current team are cooked and I don’t think Mikel wants any part of that. We will probably see a very different Arsenal side by the end of this season and 100% by the start of next.

    I don’t think these players can play Arteta’s or even Emery’s system because they are dumb and or, lazy.

    If you look at our senior players: 32, 30, 30, 29, 28 (you know who these are) I doubt there’s much life left in them. If we promote and buy smart, we will have the youngest squad in the PL with zero baggage left over from Arsene and Emery.

    Yesterday’s result does not matter. What matters is Arteta is now in charge and he’s finally doing what the others didn’t: sorting the wheat from the chaff.

  7. Bamford10


    No, that’s completely wrong. I said last season that I rated Solskjaer and I said this United team was much better than we are back in October, long before Emery was dismissed. Did you miss the whole wager with WE and TR7?

    This has nothing to do with Emery.

    You have United wrong and you have my take on United wrong.

  8. Useroz

    Xhara indeed released Saka on 3 or 4 occasions but then he does it from time to time, when he isn’t pressed in MF. BOU didn’t press much tbh. Wouldn’t call it an improvement on his play and he appears to be moving on if media reports are to be believed. £25m not € we should hold out for unless a replacement is also lined up in which case get as much and run.

    The Wenger talk isn’t going away soon given what Gazadis and he did in years before they left.

  9. Bamford10

    If United finish 4th and we finish 10th, I am genuinely curious to see what some of you lot come up with to explain this disparity.

  10. China1

    I repeat Bamford, in our worst start since the 1970s we are only 4 points behind this ‘good’ utd team

    A team we drew with away from home despite being in our own death spiral.

    If laca buries any one of those chances yesterday we’re 2 points behind and A win against the mighty Aston villa in September sees us a point above them all other things remaining equal

    We’ve been absolutely dog shit and that’s all it would’ve taken to be above them – just like we finished above this ‘excellent’ utd team all last season as well…

    Nothing matters more than results, and this utd team are barely doing better than our ‘poverty squad’ at our very very lowest eb

    Must be quality

  11. China1

    Well Bamford half a season of floundering in a shocking system of tactical hilarity might have played a part in our failures so you not think?

    Or do you still like to pretend emery got sacked for no good reason?

  12. China1

    Emery played torreira as a fucking winger and AM coming off the bench

    Arteta puts him as a disciplined DM for one game and immediately puts in his best performance in 12 months

    But yeah emery had nothing to do with us failing for the last 12 months. It’s only the players’ fault

  13. Useroz

    I’d say , other than Pool and City , qualities of the players on paper aren’t going to mean much as results tell us. Have ManU, Leicester and Chelsea have better or worse squads? Ain’t matter. I think tactics and fight would count for more on the day.

  14. Tee

    It’s kinda hilarious when you read certain posters telling us it’s only Bournemouth.

    We have been battered by shots from similar teams.

    They slice through us like hot knife through butter.

    Take it or leave it, if certain man was still in charge, we would have faced like 15+ shots in 1st half and more in 2nd half.

    There was nothing arteta could have done about the 1st 11 bearing in mind martinelli, tierny, be.ll, and the rest are injured.

    We just need a new defender and a CM to compliment torr.

    I believe we will see improvement as time goes on and we won’t fight relegation.

  15. Tee

    Just read xhaka is furious with arteta for telling him he is free to leave in the summer but coming out to express his love for him to the press.

    If xhaka wants to leave, he shouldn’t be prevented from doing so. Though he played well with torriera in the new system but we will still have to release him if we find MF who can do is work for us and with better work rate and attitude.

  16. Samesong

    I am happy for Xhaka to leave.

    In other news Guns I wanted to see how a plant based diet would be and after 1 day I went gym and felt so energised. What’s going on lol.

  17. China1

    Well if arteta wants xhaka our I think it was a bit pointless to big him up so much in the media but one way or another, xhaka has played reasonably well the last two games

    He still slows the game down a bit too much but his overall contribution was pretty good and he and torr made a good partnership

  18. Pierre


    Let’s make it simple for you to understand.

    One simple tactical move by Freddie and Arteta have improved us defensively.

    That is putting Torreira back alongside Xhaka , resulting in only having one goal conceded and more importantly, very few attempts at our goal, this gives the team stability which will breed confidence.

    One goal conceded in 2 away games, playing with an 18 year old winger at left back….would that have happened under Emery , no chance.

    The next 2 games will determine whether or not we have learnt how to defend as a team and not get caught on the counter as united and Chelsea are very good counter attacking teams.

    Don’t be surprised to see Arsenal not over commit in these games as Arteta is tactically aware to know that united and Chelsea are deadly on the counter.

    8 games since we scored the first goal in a game and that is killing us confidence wise.

    Offensively, it will take one moment to light the fuse , maybe scoring the first goal in a game will do it as it is so difficult to keep coming from behind as the pressure increases.

  19. Samesong

    Well if arteta wants xhaka our I think it was a bit pointless to big him up so much in the media but one way or another, xhaka has played reasonably well the last two games

    Arteta is smart he has to say the right things for potential buyers.

  20. Pierre

    “Just read xhaka is furious with arteta for telling him he is free to leave in the summer but coming out to express his love for him to the press.”

    Media bulllshit if there are no direct quotes.

  21. Unai

    Samesong, I went vegan for a while, was great at first but after a while I struggled to keep the protein intake high enough for positive training.

    Ended up turning to processed products that were also high in fat, was worse off than when I was eating meat.

    Didn’t help that beans weren’t a suitable long term protein replacement as, as time went by, my farts became unbearable.

  22. habesha gooner

    United are poor. I wouldn’t take many of their forwards over ours. The only guaranteed starters in this form from United would be AWB, Maguire and Pogba. On form may be you would take DeGea and Mctominay. The rest is dross for a team that has invested so much.

  23. Samesong

    Unai how was the struggle for protein? Have you seen the program game changer on netflix? I am going to give it a week and see how I feel.

  24. Jeff

    I wonder how long it will take the new AKBs to start telling us how we need a new experienced manager? I’m taking bets on 1 game, 5 games, 10 games and never. Any takers? LOL.

  25. Unai

    Samesong, I’ve not watched it yet but definitely need a new year kick start so might watch it today

    I track macros and calories in MFP and my protein intake dropped from 30%’s to mid teens.

    Training suffered, lost intensity, recovery slowed, visible drop in muscle mass.

    Wife also had some problems, her platelet count dropped off a cliff and she started to get ill, doctor told her to either redesign the diet or revert back to original diet, in the end it was easier to just go back to whatever knew best.

    Dont let me put you off though, I commend anyone who can sustain it although its not as easy as remove meat, job done, you’ve definitely got to plan well initially, something I failed to do.

    I do want to give it another go, just need to plan better next time.

  26. Jeff

    “If ‘they’ are ‘Arteta Knows Best’ then surely hes got at least 10 years?”

    And if that doesn’t scare you – nothing will – not even relegation?

  27. Graham62

    Take away the fact that Arsenal’s players get paid extremely handsomely, are doing something that we mere mortals can only dream of and are all, for the most part, highly skilled professional athlete, we have to take into consideration they are only human. The simple fact of the matter is, what they have all had to go through these past few years would drive most of us to despair.

    So many posters on here ridicule our players at every opportunity and I will be the first to admit that when it comes to the likes of Mesut Ozil, Granit Xhaka, Skhodran Mustafi and David Luiz it has, for the most part, been totally justified.

    Arsenal’s players live in a world where they are, unfortunately, made aware of the clubs regression 24/7. How can you switch off when social media/ TV/ Radio/ Press etc highlight not only their own individual failings but also, significantly, the shoddy way the club is being run. The negativity is all consuming.

    It’s all well and good saying that these players should be proud and privileged to play for AFC but when you’re having to deal with the daily vultures that circle the club, I include ourselves in this, it must be so draining.

    We now have our 4th manager at the helm in the space of 19 months. To say the players must be drained would be an understatement. Some,quite clearly, don’t want to be there, whilst others are just going through the motions.

    These are the things that Arteta has to deal with on a daily basis. From what I saw yesterday, there are signs that he can lead us forward. The thing is, can this group of players find the resolve and energies to help him out?

    Watch this space.

  28. Valentin


    You are the one who hates Wenger so much that you proclaim that he led Arsenal to 15 years of decline before his sacking! We were in decline before the invincibles!!
    Before casting aspersions on other people opinion, have a good look in the mirror.
    Emery your so called saviour from Wenger left us in a bigger mess than Wenger.
    Giving Arteta the benefit of the doubt and time to fix that mess is the only sensible option.

  29. Wenker-Wanger

    Agree with guns…arteta will use the rest of this season to chew over the quality of the players formations etc.We have massive holes in the squad, defense and midfield.
    Man united are a strange opponent. If they click we are in real trouble…,the forward line is potentially a free scoring glut of goals. But if we stifle them and deny them creativity space we can beat them.