Here are the 3 Reasons Granit Xhaka deserves the best, just not here
1. Xhaka is emblematic of the worst of Arsenal
His mistakes have started to typify Arsenal and their playing style. Slow, backwards passes. Loss of possession in important spots. Stupid and unnecessary fouls—and especially penalties—given away in dangerous spots and at the worst times. A failure to capitalize in the final third. Sound familiar?
Granit Xhaka’s captaincy has been emblematic of an Arsenal team much like him: fierce, tough, but rash, slow, and just not good enough. The Premier League has its name for a reason.
It is the best league in the world. And Arsenal are not playing to their standard within it, because the core of our team is not. Now this is just not on Xhaka, the fans and media have used him as a scapegoat far too many times, often unjustly. But he holds a hand in it.
And there’s more. Xhaka does not make news because he has played particularly well. Ever. I cannot recall the last time I saw an article about him which spun him in a positive light, and did not center on a controversy he caused, a penalty he gave away. When he does play well, it’s overlooked because the rest of the team tends to perform around him as well. His form mirrors Arsenal’s play.
An apt comparison might be AFTV, making headlines for all the wrong reasons, and stirring the fans into a constant frenzy, whether or not anything is actually wrong. His presence over social media does not help; he recently thanked Swiss fans for supporting him, and appreciating him as a player. The wording of the post suggested that Arsenal fans don’t do that, which while fairly accurate, is not what we should look for in a club captain. But speaking of the fans…
2. The Emirates isn’t healthy for him
It’s always hard to play football while your fans don’t have your back. His incident during the Crystal Palace game is indicative of that. But that’s not my issue with these particular Gooners. Expressing your displeasure at poor performances is acceptable, but to attack Granit Xhaka the person is completely over the line, and frankly soils the club name more than Xhaka ever could .
He was sent death threats. His child and wife were threatened with injury. These inhuman and immoral acts demonstrate to me, and hopefully others, that the Arsenal fanbase has become toxic to the point where it is no longer safe or healthy for Granit Xhaka to play for us. Given the opportunity, I would encourage him to do exactly what he says he enjoys: ply his trade somewhere he enjoys playing and has the support of the fans.
He is a fantastic leader, as proved by the vote of the locker room, and there are many teams that could use his skillset and physicality, but who might be wiling to lessen his defensive responsibilities as well. I want to see him succeed. I just don’t think he can at Arsenal.
Three months in and Arsenal’s 2019/20 season has not gone very well. However, that does not mean that everything should be doom and gloom. Here are three positives from the season thus far.
Well, if you had to ask Arsenal fans for their worst-case scenario for the 2019/20 season, they would probably describe something similar to what has actually happened over the past three months. Little progress in Unai Emery’s second season, a lack of identity and imposing style, poor performances abounding, and now subpar results to boot. It would be fair to say that the 2019/20 season is not going very well.
But that does not mean that everything should be doom and gloom. So, with that in mind, here are three positives from the season thus far.
3. The end of dead wood
In the summer, Arsenal needed to utterly upheave the squad and rebuild from the ground up. Many of the layovers from the Arsene Wenger era did not suit the trajectory of the modern team, while resources were being wasted on several players with expensive contracts and poor performances. And so far this season, it seems as though Unai Emery is willing to commit to this high turnover of personnel.
Shkodran Mustafi has been jettisoned from the squad, only used in domestic cup matches and Europa League games. His performances, curiously, have been quite positive this season, but his time at the club is nearing an end. Also at centre-back, Sokratis might be nearing the end of his tether, with Calum Chambers and Rob Holding both usurping him in the pecking order prior to the international break.
And then there is Granit Xhaka, who also looks set to depart from the club in the near future after his captaincy calamity. Xhaka has been stripped of the captaincy, has not played another minute since being booed off the pitch against Crystal Palace and has been surpassed on a footballing level by many players in the squad, especially Matteo Guendouzi. If Arsenal are to move on from these players, as the early part of this season suggests, that is no bad thing.