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Arsenal “fans” turn on Xhaka to criticise him for being… best in the League

By Tony Attwood

Yes, according to a very little bloggetta Arsenal “fans” have turned on Xhaka.

This is the same Granit Xhaka who so far this season is the top rated passer in the PL this season, ahead of 3 Man C players, David Silva, Nicolas Otamendi and Fernandinho.   Other top passers of the ball so far, all outdone by Xhaka, are Jan Vertonghen, Paul Pogba., Toby Alderweireld, Oriol Romeu, Nemanja Matic and then Mesut Ozil, who they don’t seem to like either.

On Xhaka “Red London” has found various twits sorry tweets saying, “Honestly Xhaka is ridiculously sloppy, we need a WC CM but until then, play Wilshere”, “Xhaka been awful again”, “Terrible in transition.” (Actually that last maybe is a misprint for translation”) and “Xhaka has been below average today.”  Which shows something or other, although for the life of me I can’t think what.  Other than the obvious.

Which led me on to think about statistics.  Early days yet in the PL of course, but the stats are out there, and since people spend time looking at the league table which is after all nothing but a bunch of statistics, here are some more…

Only Lakaku has scored more goals than Danny Welbeck.   Only Henrikh Mkhitaryan has had more assists than Sead Kolasinac.

Only Pogba, De Bruyne and Mkhitaryan have provided more through passes than Ozil.  Which of course doesn’t change the league table, but does suggest that some of these players are not as useless as the all seeing twittertariat claim.

Here’s one other – no Arsenal player appears in the top 20 for yellow cards.  So cue lots of articles tomorrow reading “Arsenal players too soft, claim supporters”.  There, I’ve done their work for them.

But surely someone must be in trouble.  Someone must have done something wrong?  I mean after all this is Arsenal.   Well, yes because “According to reports in Germany, Sead Kolašinac is due in court on Monday, due to a series of driving offences.”

Now I can’t verify this one because the link provided goes to the Bild “wall” which is a screamingly awful collection of pictures and outrageous stories, but apparently he’s been done for speeding, driving through red traffic lights and using his phone while driving.   If he’s going to plead the need for leniency in court apparently he has to do it in person (which for a loss of licence I think is the same in the UK) and that means a trip back to Germany today.

Shock horror, Arsenal lose key defender ahead of vital Europa game.  Because, well, that flight from Germany back to England, well that takes, days.  Weeks.  Months…  We won’t see him again this season that’s for sure.

(Actually I once got done in my early days for driving with an insecure load down the M5 and I went to court, pleaded my case, told the magistrates a joke and got off with a £5 fine and no endorsement, so if the legal team in Germany need any help they know where to find me).

Except that I don’t think Kolašinac is necessary for the game against Köln (Die Geißböcke) as a quick look at the German league table confirms.

 (That’s their badge by way in case you thought I was posting pictures of random goats).

Poa Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 3 2 1 0 5 0 +5 7
2 3 2 1 0 5 2 +3 7
3 3 2 1 0 3 1 +2 7
4 3 2 0 1 6 3 +3 6
5 3 2 0 1 5 2 +3 6
6 3 2 0 1 5 3 +2 6
7 3 2 0 1 4 3 +1 6
8 3 1 1 1 5 3 +2 4
9 3 1 1 1 3 3 +0 4
10 3 1 1 1 3 3 +0 4
11 3 1 1 1 1 1 +0 4
12 3 1 1 1 2 4 -2 4
13 3 1 0 2 3 3 +0 3
14 3 1 0 2 2 5 -3 3
15 3 0 2 1 1 4 -3 2
16 3 0 1 2 1 4 -3 1
17 3 0 1 2 4 8 -4 1
18 3 0 0 3 1 7 -6 0

 

Anyway there’s lots of excitement among the twitterati over the possibility that Jack could play in the Europa game, not least because Coquelin did his hamstring at t he weekend.

But then, just when we might have thought all was safe and lovely and plain sailing and tickety-boo we have another headline, “Arsenal could be without five for Cologne match”.  Actually what the manager actually said actually was, “”Some players will come in of course, because many players played twice for the national team, and then again today [against Bournemouth]. So two or three will not be in the squad, but most of them will play.”

Of Jack he said, “I told you in the [pre-match] press conference that he’s getting stronger and stronger. The fact that Francis is now out gives him a chance as well.”

Anyway – want a final smile this morning?  Try this

Arsenal have agreed a deal in principle to sign Thomas Lemar from Monaco in January, according to reports in England.

Yes that was the headline in…

wait for it…

are you ready???

sure????

The Star on Sunday.

Recent Posts

From the Arsenal History Society

 

 

33 comments to Arsenal “fans” turn on Xhaka to criticise him for being… best in the League

  • Arthur

    Tony
    Thanks for producing this blog.
    It is much easier to be negative than positive.
    So I am grateful to you and the other writers for being positive. You are a shining light and I applaud your efforts to make Arsenal fans feel better. I also hope that Arsenal give you all the support you need.

  • Dexter

    Who cares if Granit is a great passer? He is supposed to be a DM and he is awful in that role.

    But let’s ignore that tiny insignificant side to his game.

    We have never replaced Gilberto which is down to the manager preferring to sign lightweight despite the brutality of the English league and the leniency of the referees towards over physical challenges.

  • Chris

    Dexter,

    I fully agree. Kolasinac is not heavy enough or he would not run that fast.
    Maybe Mr Wenger ought to be looking at some NFL player. Would help. The more so that at least at WHL he’d feel a little bit like at home.

    There is one team that probably would be happy for new supporters. They are way far up North in Orcland.
    Maybe you want to join their ranks and you’ll be happy to chant for the brutality of English football.

    After all there are 20 teamns in the PL, 20 different managers and different styles.
    Your’s is not the one Arsenal has been playing for 2 decades, so maybe it is time to focus on another team.

  • Kamiel

    @Dexter

    Xhaka is, and was signed as, a deep lying playmaker/quarterback in the mould of a Pirlo or a Xabi Alonso. His role requires some defensive output (like every outfield player), but it’s defined by game-changing long passes to the forwards and control over the overall flow of the game. In a very different way, Xhaka performs a similar role in the team to Santi Cazorla and he’s very good at it as Untold’s data will illustrate.

    Of course the press and the blogs would have you believe a DM is simply achieved by taking a “hard man” Barton-like midfielder and shunting him into the position in front of the defence. This isn’t true, and in most cases it simply results in cards, and the the concession of dangerous free kicks. This is why the great Milan team of the early 2000’s placed Gatusso and Seedorf *in front* of Pirlo, mitigating the inherent risk, and allowing the Italian maestro the protection necessary to dictate play.

    Players like Mascherano, Makalele, Matic, Busquets, Gilberto and Kante are revered by managers because they specialise in “taking” the ball (via clean tackles and interceptions), and then laying it off to the attackers. These players don’t concede many set pieces, they don’t take any risks and are exclusively positioned to neutralise the opposition. They earn their money by mopping up threats in deep midfield, giving defenders less work to do, and allowing the skillful, less work-rate orientated players to perform their main functions.

    Buying a DM is not like buying a striker — they are incredibly rare and they do not grow on trees. In the Prem, for example, there’s only two (three if you include Dier): Matic and Kante. The rest of the league has to make do with more rounded midfielders like Ramsey, Henderson and Barry to compensate. Of course, there was a time that Coquelin looked to grow into a true DM but he seems a bit below that level now that he’s settled. We probably held on to him because he’d be difficult to replace as a squad player.

    All that being said, quarterback playmakers are even rarer than DM’s and in Xhaka, we have one of the most unique creative elements in the league and one, when one form, who has a metronomical effect on our play. I dare say that he’s the kind of player that would fit in like a glove at Barca, Juventus, or Madrid. I only pray he stays long enough for Arsenal to experience the pinnacle of his abilities.

  • colario

    Arsene has said many times that the English style of thug football doesn’t win England the European cup or the World Cup.

    Its the teams that play skilful football that win.

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebksin

    Xhaka maybe a good passer of the ball for Arsenal, but the poor side of him that speaks some volumes in recent 2 PL away Arsenal games which we have witnessed with the seeing of our eyes two Stadia and on TV watching is, he’s also sloppy as he sometimes lose the ball carelessly to the opposition players that sometimes lead to Arsenal getting punished for his sloppiness. This sloppiness by him due to his likely momentary loss of concentration during his playing for Arsenal has to be put to check if his sloppiness costing Arsenal goal or goals in their games has to stop. When Xhaka played well and not sloppy, Arsenal won games. But when he played badly and was sloppy, Arsenal lost games….to Stoke and Liverpool at away.

    Now, Arsenal are going to Chelsea next Sunday for a big PL game which the Gunners MUST beat the Blues to the collection of all the 3 points that will be at stake for collection in that match. Therefore, Granit Xhaka MUST be very carefully not to be sloppy for Arsenal in that big game at the Bridge to carelessly give the ball away to the opposition Blues. For, such carelessness by him could be capitalised on by the Blues who have the caliber of players in their ranks to inflict damage. But Xhaka should play immaculately for Arsenal throughout the entire course of his playing in that match.

  • Scuba

    You should cite you stats, because Granit Xhaka is not the top rated passer in the PL this season. At 82%, he’s not even in Arsenal’s top 10.

  • Jax

    Wasn’t it The Star On Sunday, that first reported that Elvis was on the moon?

  • Ayman

    I’m afraid the article is misguided.

    @Kamil made a very intelligent comment about the role of a DM. Xhaka was bought to be a Pirlo style of player while not carrying a lot of the defensive responsibilities. However, Pirlo had Gatusso and Seedord who carried this role, which made them effective as a midfield. In Arsenal, Xhaka is accompanied by Ramsey, who likes to bomb forward at every occasion, and doesn’t contribute to the defensive work. Secondly, Xhaka appears to have an incomplete passing game as well. He is excellent in the game-changing long-range passes, and short side-ways passes (aka the Arteta pass), but not very good in the short-range penetrative forward passes that were mastered by Cazorla, Wilshere & Ramsey.

    This has been Arsenal’s problem for years. We almost never have a midfield that’s designed to ensure a minimum defensive work is taken care of. Arsene Wenger simply tries to field a combination that would provide the perfect pass coverage and forward penetration, but often overlooks the defensive aspect (maybe except when we played Cazorla and Coquelin together). Wenger tries over and over to out-pass opponents without ensuring a minimum defensive work is taken care of. The strategy works against lesser teams, but fails horribly against stronger and more balanced teams. In matches where most of our players are in form (particularly offensive players), we scare most of the opponents that they would think twice before committing to attacks, only then Xhaka and Ramsey (or whatever combination would be great), in other matches it fails horribly and we carry a big loss.

    There for, it’s not fair to single out Xhaka, while the entire system is not working. It’s all the fault of the Coach imho. Especially when the players became psychologically defeated with each humilating loss they experience.

  • MickHazel

    Scuba
    Where do you get your 82% from? I assume Tony is quoting number of passes whereas you are quoting accuracy I would guess.
    https://www.premierleague.com/stats/top/players/touches
    https://www.premierleague.com/stats/top/players/total_pass
    Xhaka is top in passes and touches.
    Last season he was 1st in touches and 2nd in passes (in six less games than the winner).

  • Polo

    These Spurs fan love AW and probably wish he was their club manager, since the last trophy Spurs won, AW had won 16 trophies, yes 2 more years please.
    Also, I wonder what did AW said or do to The Mirror for them to keep publishing negative articles about him?

    http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/tottenham-supporters-take-aim-bitter-11147780

  • Ayman, the problem is you start with an assertion without proof, and as long as you do that what follows from the assertion lacks validity.

  • Scuba

    Right from Whoscored, Mick, which is pretty frequently cited on this blog. He may have a lot of volume, but he’s nowhere near the top of the league in terms of accuracy.

  • Gunner6

    Scuba
    Changed your tune I see…..
    Be grateful we have him and appreciate his talents, will you?
    Gunner6

  • Scuba

    What are you talking about, Gunner? There’s no “changing my tune”. Xhaka isn’t an efficient passer, he’s nowhere near the top rated passer in the league. The stats back that up. Attempting a lot of passes tells us nothing about quality, it tells us that he’s touching the ball a lot.

    I’d be a lot more grateful that we had Xhaka if he wasn’t supposedly our best midfield player. For years (and my comment history will back this up), I’ve been saying our midfield is the biggest thing holding us back. We’ve got more than enough talent in attack to challenge for the title, our goalkeepeing is good enough, and our fullbacks and center backs are probably capable with a little help from better midfielders. He’s a nice complimentary piece if we had better midfielders around him, but we don’t. It would be hard to justify his inaccurate passing if he was a Makelele type screen, but given that passing is supposed to be his forte, 82% is terrible.

  • Vivek Arulnathan

    Here is some analysis on the numbers Xhaka’s performances have been generating and it is hard to argue that they aren’t representative of 4 really poor games from our midfield lynchpin.

    Taken from “By the Numbers article on Arseblog by 7amkickoff”

    “72.6 – Pass completion rate for Granit Xhaka (joint lowest of any Arsenal outfielder other than Kolasinac.)

    Xhaka only completed 53/73 passes, meaning he misplaced 20 passes on the day. Many of those bad passes were on breakaways and counters and thus contributed to Arsenal’s low, 80% pass completion rate. Xhaka’s completion rate was the lowest of any outfield player (tied with Kolasinac) and was just above Cech’s 50%.

    This stat is one to watch over the season. Wenger seems set on playing with a sort of single pivot with Xhaka in the base. This is similar to how Wenger played with Arteta and I’ve long thought Xhaka’s passing rage and ability should be compared to the lego-haired Spaniard. But Xhaka absolutely cannot give the ball away 20 times a game if he’s going to take on that role. In Arteta’s final full season with Arsenal (2013/14) he misplaced a grand total of 170 of his 1982 attempted passes (includes both long and short passes). That’s an average of just 5.5 per game. Xhaka has already misplaced 64 passes this season, an average of 16 per game.

    When Xhaka came to Arsenal, he averaged 12 misplaced passes per game and I had hoped that this was just a matter of him playing in a system and with teammates where passing wasn’t held in such high regard (counter attacking systems tend not to worry as much about possession). And this seemed right; in his first season at Arsenal, he averaged just 7.2 misplaced passes per game. But this season he’s looked sloppy and it’s really hurting the team.”

    http://news.arseblog.com/2017/09/arsenal-4-0-bournemouth-by-the-numbers/

    How can you say people are wrong about criticising Granit when the stats show he’s been really poor?

  • Polo

    Let compare players, data are from Whoscored.com

    Xhaka – Key pass 2, Pass per game 89, Pass success 82%
    Pogba – Key pass 2.3, Pass per game 77.3, Pass success 85.8%
    Mkhitaryan – Key pass 3.8, Pass per game 49, Pass success 86.7%
    Fabregas – Key pass 3.3, Pass per game 73, Pass success 84%
    Eriksen – Key pass 2.5, Pass per game 56.3, Pass success 86.2%

    Not sure what’s with the hysteria about Xhaka being incompetent.

  • Scuba

    Polo, those stats just back up the idea that he isn’t nearly as good as those others.

    He’s touching the ball more than any of those four midfielders, yet making less key passes. He’s also got the lowest success rate but a few percentage points, while attempting more passes per game. Also worth noting there, Xhaka plays a deeper starting position than any of those four, so you’d expect his success rate to be higher just due to the risk of a misplaced pass.

    If Xhaka was paired with a guy like Matic or Kante, and had more of a free role to create with someone covering behind him, his 82% rate would probably be acceptable. Given his role and help in this system, though, it’s hurting this team (as other blogs frequently point out).

    A guy in Xhaka’s position need to be more aware of the risk of a misplaced pass (see Liverpool match), and if a player is going to take those sort of insane risks from deep, he needs to create far more chances. His key pass/pass ratio is terrible compared to the rest of those guys, as well as his giveaway/pass ratio. He needs to be better.

  • Polo

    @Scuba, his stats are not that big of a difference from other players to get this type of hysteria. I agree he need to improve but to say he’s very poor isn’t it being over critical?
    Below is last season stats, Xhaka’s pass success % was high, maybe he’s still on holiday at the moment.

    Season 2016-17, data are from Whoscored.com

    Xhaka – Key pass 1.1, Pass per game 71.8, Pass success 89.5%
    Pogba – Key pass 1.9, Pass per game 72.6, Pass success 85.1%
    Mkhitaryan – Key pass 1.2, Pass per game 32.2, Pass success 84.1%
    Fabregas – Key pass 2.1, Pass per game 45.7, Pass success 84.5%
    Eriksen – Key pass 3.1, Pass per game 54.9, Pass success 80.2%

  • Scuba

    Polo, just for kicks, I’m going to take each of the other four players and figure out how many key passes per game they’d be making if they had 89 passes per game (Xhaka’s figure)

    Pogba – 2.64 per 89 attempts
    Mkhitaryan – 6.9 per 89 attempts
    Fab – 4.02 per 89 attempts
    Eriksen – 3.95 per 89 attempts

    Those aren’t good comparisons for Xhaka. THIS SEASON, which is the basis of Tony’s article, Granit Xhaka is nowhere near the best passer in the league. THIS SEASON, Granit Xhaka has been poor, and all of his criticism is warranted.

    As for last season, those numbers still don’t have him creating nearly as many chances as the others in your comparison, Pogba aside. I did like his play better last year, though, as he was taking less stupid chances when left alone in the midfield. Based on that, I think he’d be a nice complimentary piece, as noted above. I think he and Ramsey are just an awful pair in midfield, though.

  • Jerry

    @Scuba and Vivek,

    Not sure where that article is getting those stats from. Polo mentioned the stats from Whoscored.

    The stats which Tony was referring to show that Xhaka has been making the most passes per game (89 average per game) which explains why his percentage (82%) is lower than other players.

    In regards to his passing, he has been very accurate (84.7%) with his short passes (completed 271/320), but not as accurate (58.3%) with his long balls (completed 21/36).

    For comparison, David Silva would be considered one of the most accurate midfield passers (90.5%), but that’s because he is the master of completing short passes (309/341), but he has only attempted 5 long balls (complete 4/5). Based on Xhaka’s position, lying deeper, and trying to spring the attack attempting more long balls is obviously going to affect his passing percentage.

  • Xaka – A work In Progress

    Anyone who knows ARSENAL, will know what a player who listens becomes when potential is seen in him by that great man Arsene Wenger.

    Granit is a deep lying playmaker, but you can rarely make a defensive Midfielder into a deep lying playmaker. So if you want both, you need to take a deep lying playmaker and create a defensively minded deep lying playmaker. Nobody has really become this, yes Pirlo, Veratti and the likes all need cover. Which is what I was saying about the need for a DM.

    Coq can do this, but you need 2 and the injuries affect your rhythm and it’s simply that which is costing him at present.

    But it’s just ssimply a question of sacrifice, Granit is yet to blast one into the back of the net, lacking composure, he should have scored from Andrei’s cut back, he just needed to lift it and place it; similarly to Benteke missing a guilt edged chance on Sunday, costing De Boer his job, Palace sack someone because of a backpass and Dann missing sitters, silly.

    Granit will simply have to learn to sit in, pick his passes forward a little better, and choose when to drive, or communicate to someone he is joining in an attack as he did for that chance Lacazette presented him.

    With Granit it is all in his mind, he has the quality, he just needs composure, and he needs to realise he is the last one out of the half, you wait just inside the edge of the centre circle their half. He’ll get much more room to pass and score if and when he realises this.

    His passing is fine, it’s his short distribution in terms of choice, letting him down.

  • Scuba

    Jerry, the number of passes Xhaka plays shouldn’t have anything to do with his success rates. I agree with just about all of your other analysis, though.

    My issue with Xhaka’s risk taking is entirely due to his role. His typical partner, Ramsey, likes to get forward and join the attack, and Ozil isn’t exactly known for his defensive work (although it’s better than he’s often given credit for). In addition, Arsene likes his fullbacks/wingbacks to push forward. He just can’t afford to give the ball away with high risk passes, as they leave us painfully exposed on the counter. Like City and Liverpool, we typically have an extra body or two in attack, so we shouldn’t have to take those sorts of risks.

    Xhaka could get away with that sort of play at Leicester or Stoke, where he’d likely have a stay at home partner, and stay at home defenders behind him. At Arsenal, it leaves the team exposed when the pass doesn’t come off.

  • Gunner6

    Scuba
    You are splitting hairs mate.
    We are going through an up down patch yet Xhaka’s pass % are close to those who are setting the pace.
    Give it up mate.
    Gunner6

  • Menace

    Scuba get back in the water. It is Xhaka feeding time.

  • Jerry

    @Scuba,

    The number of passes made has everything to do with success rates. For example, it’s easier to make and complete 2 passes (100%) than it is to complete 90 out of 100 passes (90%).

    And of course, if you attempt more lower percentage passes (long balls) it is more likely your overall percentage will go down compared to players who do not typically make such passes.

    I agree he has made some goal costing mistakes, but even great players make mistakes. For example, last season Sanchez received tons of credit (deserved) for his goals, assists, and hard work, yet no one mentions he was dispossessed 3 times more per game than any other Arsenal player (from whoscored). Even the best players make mistakes.

    In regards to his tackling, perhaps he is hesitant considering that Arsenal committed the 5th FEWEST fouls last year, but received the 6th MOST red cards last year (whoscored).

  • Scuba

    Don’t worry, Menace. There’s a good chance he’d miss.

  • Gunner6

    Scuba
    Such confidence showed toward an Arsenal player.
    When his % improve, I hope you come back tails between your legs and admit your unreasonable criticisms of him.
    Gunner6

  • Goonereris

    I despair at some of our fans who find it easier to label or slag off our players, yet the stats show that some of the lads are doing something right and do not fair badly in a peer comparison of stats. Arsene Wenger did state the role Xhaka has come to play and it was akin to Prilo (deep lying play maker); importantly, Wenger has not shown interest (rightly or wrongly, who knows?) in the all tackling, non-straying,DM beast most fans wish for, insisting it will impact the way “we want to play”. I feel we must respect his view of the game until we get another manager who may have a different approach.

    Many times, we hear how average our players are, yet we demand excellent output every game. Can you see the irony?

    Xhaka is only 24 and the fact that he was able to adjust his tackling game (hardly any cards since; hope I don’t jinx him, though) under instruction from Wenger gives me hope he can improve when instructed right. He never hides and is always willing to take on the responsibility of distributing the ball; and now, somehow that makes him poor because of a couple of costly errors? He will cut that sloppiness out soon enough and go on to bigger things. I see a future skipper in that young man.

  • It is funny, the article title was a dead giveaway and this just demonstrates how easily people jump at anything, the suggestion that Xaka is a top passer, is ambiguous, but it also shows how many pedants there are out there.

    Granit came with the tag, ‘send off’ so they did, you’d hope he learned first time around, he did not, in fact he could have been sent off this season, so he’s a stubborn sort, noted. Another way to interpret that, is as resilient, which I like and s needed. His response to rough housing is to dish a little himself, we needed that too.

    the idea of successful passing, well to hit your intended pass target is the minimum really, but their is also the combination of that pass within the passage of play, are you going back to retain possession, are you going back to come forwards, are you allowing the team to reset, are you attempting a sensational defence splitting pass, maybe in fact you are attempting to shift the pattern of play or expose the opposite flank.

    However passing relies on your team mates making sensible runs, taking up sensible positions in space or being capable of receiving the ball in tight areas or being committed to retrieving or latching onto misplaced passes or getting between the ball and opposition players with commitment and tenacity, if not strength or pace.

    In fact I think you will find that Granit is quite capable in each of these departments, the problems actually arise from his adaptation to the system played by AFC, the adaptation to a new system employed by AFC in recent games, the fractious nature of the teams overall play, the adaptation to the fastest, most balanced league in terms of physicality and technical ability and pace of play within a well developed tactical structure and the added responsibility of playing in a 2 man central midfield where he is expected to simultaniously create as the first pivot and defend as what is essentially point guard.

    I do agree that for the most part his attempts to play long balls wide or to the target man have been hampered by the effectivity of the team, on the right we have just been lacking, which suits his strongest and much favoured left. Second guessing yourself, causes delay and if you think you are in trouble, Medtronic passing, which is the Arsenal way, comes from instinctively knowing who is where and what the play is going to be, something epitomised by the goals finished by Jack.

    In order for Granit to improve a very respectable passing accuracy especially when the figures are taken from 4 games W2 L2, you have improve the results, and adjust the teams identity to one which changes the way games are structured, Granit gets time and space if we control games and have pushed up and the players around him are showing for the ball. At Stoke and at Liverpool, nobody was really doing this and when they did, Ramsey, Bellerin, they got made to look stupid, because as has happened to Granit, they got caught in possession, lacking an outlet for their next pass, which realisticly should already have been determined or should amount to one of two or three options. Something Lahm and Bastians Bayern did exceptionally as with the German national team to this day and with Spain and notably Guardiolas Barcelona.

    I reiterate, Granit struggles when he becomes complacent, or is rushed to make a snap short pass or is over zealous about making a longer pass which if accurate would fashion a chance. However when you are comfortable, the game rushes by, but everything feels like it’s in slow motion. Frankly the team is not there yet, nor is Xaka, however the series of games approaching offer every opportunity for that to be developed.

    Koln, slower paced game against a team whose focus will now be getting out of the drop zone, if he even plays. Chelsae, who do not press from the front, yet posess a terrior in the middle of the park, who can be outmuscled and dominated aerially, both he and his partner Cesc. WBA who will look to block the channels in their own final third, meaning his direct passing is ineffectual and must be replaced by shorter, more snappy passes. before a sequence of 7 games against teams who will be happy with a point and will require shifting about through patterns of play to create gaps, yet will require a disciplined approach to stemming the threat of the counter attack.

    Xaka has little technical issues, his problem is his indiscipline, and the fact that with us, he needs to gerd himself and find more discipline than he has ever had. We have Gerrard and Lampard in our midfield and I could never work out why they couldn’t play together either.

    I simply prefer the idea of a Dm to a back 3, but it essentially is not too different. That is why we are playing narrow and Ozil and Danny are asked to provide width and support the striker.

    It’s called an overload, with a DM you get 2 CB’s and someone tostall the attack, what has to happen is a midfielder has to drop back in ASAP and both full backs, which is what didn’t happen at all @ Liverpool. markedly so, so markedly in fact, it was near impossible that they didn’t perform in the next game.

    When the team play well, Granit plays well, when the team are tested, Granit improves. When the RWF is a direct threat, Xaka’s game will open up. Reus, now that is intent for Mesut and Alexis. someone on the same level, withthe same desire for the here and now. He has been one of my most covetted players for ever. The intelligence of his play. that is four, the defence is less consequential with a fourth.

    Bye Theo, Danny, make me proud!

  • Wow what a cool chat room,this is musik to my ears,this Is the way to go hope it stays like that for a while.

  • Trev

    Arsenal are a ball playing team and he’s central to it, so of course he’s gonna attempt more than most. But that small number of wayward balls are so dangerously played that he is killing us. If he could cut that out of his game and maybe make himself as lean as possible, learn how to tackle a bit better whilst also improving on his positioning. Then it might be nice to have a deep lying play-maker who will not be brushed aside easily.

    The idea was a good one, a forward thinking player though allot stronger than our usual sort, it was a good plan. It hasn’t yet come off the way any of us would have hoped, you know that as well as anyone, despite scrambling for an unreliable type of statistics. Statistics can be too easily manipulated, for every positive there will be a negative, if you want there to be one. You need to take it all in if you’re going to be fair about it, that’s not what happens though, because we have one side using one sided stats, whilst the other side is using his own one sided stats. If you were to be completely fair with it, all that adding and multiplying, yet all you’re doing is looking at numbers. I’d rather watch the football if you ask me.

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