Xhaka captaincy is over. Great decision

by & filed under News Review.

I honestly can’t with some fans.

‘Arsenal boos destroy Xhaka’

Can we start calling things cold-takes? The view that Arsenal fans had anything to do with Xhaka’s loss of the armband is straight out the book of ‘a sad indictment of generation social media.’

*Puts on old man frown*

Nothing is ever anyone’s fault these days. Everyone was desperately searching for an angle to help Granit out of a hole, the club span out a mental health angle the player was furious about, soft fans complained that the jeers were ABUSE, and TV journo’s in their fifties complained that we were an embarrassment (anyone else think the eighties fans had a little more to be embarrassed about than a few guys shouting at a camera after the game?). But when it came down to it, the club knew that Granit’s behaviour didn’t align with Arsenal values.

… and hallelejuah. We DO have values after all. (Fuck Mourinho)

Xhaka only has himself to blame, so put that ‘I’M SORRY CHAKA’ A4 sheet of paper in the bin. It’s not needed.

Leadership is a privilege, not a right. Being the captain of Arsenal is more than an armband, it’s a place in history, it’s a special place in the hearts of millions of fans. It’s the reason people don’t forget you (even the bad ones).

However, we must remember, the role comes with strings, one of those happens to be this:


It’s a real basic in any walk of life that if there are people paying you to do things, don’t curse at them. If you’re on TV and millions are watching, it’s even more essential you control your emotions, as there are often professional people in the stadium documenting your moves with static images and moving pictures.

Granit broke the string, not a surprise, he’s been playing a horrible tune his whole career. Even if I just focused on this season, we’ve had him tell the fans the squad was scared against Watford, he laughably threw the strikers under the bus after his howler against Spurs at home, and Emery was so worried about the announcement he had to throw an election. One month in, he slow-walked after being subbed off early for the second game in a row, then he told the fans to fuck off twice before storming down the tunnel.

Booing is part of sport. Deal with it. It’s not nice, but it’s part of the theatre. Sport is for the people and those people have a right to a voice. Those lucky enough to make a living out of the game are rewarded beyond their wildest dreams. Fans that take time out of their day to drop over £100 to see the players put on a show and give their heart for the cause. When they slow walk, it’s insulting. The jeering might not have been our finest moment as a fanbase, but nor has watching Xhaka plod around for £90k a week for 3 years.

String 2:

When a manager has taken a drive-by shooting in the arse to make you captain, you follow his orders. Emery denounced Xhaka after the game, which was code for: ‘Fucking apologise fast and don’t turn this into a PR debacle.’

Granit did not apologize. He made exec leadership look weak and he embarrassed the manager. Then when he finally apologized, he found a couple of grotty Instagram comments to justify his childish behaviour. He didn’t even apologise in English or through the club. Arsenal had to put his German Instagram Story in the club programme. I can only imagine this meant he literally wouldn’t talk to anyone all week.

Regardless, the non-apology-apology is not the sort of thing leaders do. If I were advising him, I would have recommended something like this.

I want to take this moment to apologise to all the fans. 

My actions last Monday were not in line with the values of Arsenal football club, nor were they befitting of the armband. 

I’ve recently become a new father, an exhausting period of my life which may have contributed to my misstep. I have spoken with the manager and my teammates to express my upset at my actions (Freddie helped explain to Unai what I said). I now look forward to putting myself back in contention for a starting place next week.

Up the Arse. Fuck the Spurs. Big GX 

Sadly, he didn’t do this.

That meant the manager had no choice. Xhaka thought he was above the basic rules of any club captain and his public display of defiance risked diminishing the authority of the coach even further.

Emery made a great decision.

It’s literally the luckiest accident in his short Arsenal career to date. Xhaka been a bang average for us, his skillset is wholly unsuited for the league, and his temperament is extremely questionable. His performances have been consistently substandard, the only hope we had was that he trained well and could offer a captaincy built on Arsenal values. It took him less than a month to prove himself wholly inadequate. The Scaramucci of captains indeed.

Step up Auba.

A great appointment that no one can really argue with.

He’s a captain that will lead by example.

He’ll bail us out of bad situations. He has a great personality on and off the pitch. The fans love him.

I think a year down the line, we would have had more options, but considering the circumstances, this really is absolutely fine.

Final interesting part of the Xhaka story is there might not be a way back into Emery’s plans. Again, you can’t argue with this outcome. He’s a good squad player, but now he’s had a taste of being king, it’s highly unlikely he’ll go back to being a mere mortal.

Not sure this whole debacle has done much for his resale value, but be real, you think Europe’s elite were going to purchase him without looking at a few videos first? Regardless, that’s not our worry. The fact is, we’re a better team without him.

Vitoria this evening. An unusually strong squad from Emery. He’s taken Tierney, Bellerin, LT and Leno. I worry he’s having a Europa Attack, symptoms tend to be playing his most important players against pub teams because you fear you won’t make the top 4.

I fully expect to win this game 4-0, then revert to type against Leicester at the weekend.

See you in the comments and please take in the podcast before it becomes dated!

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Hottest centre backs Edu SHOULD be looking at (long read)

by & filed under News Review.

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Mike McDonald back with a BEAST of a post about the hot centre backs of Europe. Pull out the popcorn, you are about to be educated. (Find him @Mike_MMcdonald)

Arsenal Football Club will be only be transformed when they correct three issues that have been largely ignored for over 15 years.

The right coach, a solid defensive unit and football that is 50% ‘off the ball.’

I’ve researched centre back options and with that said it’s fair to say that we may have our answer at the club already.


1 week, 1 month, 1 season. No one can agree the timeline

by & filed under News Review.

The media is alive like a pit of vipers, all looking for their hot take on a story they don’t yet have. A little like some of the nonsense that was fed into the airwaves when we were hiring for the Wenger replacement. It makes for interesting reading, dependent on how you want to spin it for yourself.

The through-thread I’m hearing is quite simple: We don’t have a plan.