Does Granit Xhaka have too much power at the club? Is he the ‘John Terry’ of Arsenal?

We know Granit Xhaka is hugely popular amongst the other players…

Since the start of the season, things have started to unravel at Arsenal.

Things weren’t great in the closing chapters of last season, when our Premier League form was disastrous and we somehow missed out on 4th place, after dropping points against teams we should have easily beaten – and then we collapsed in the Europa League final.

It all started when Laurent Koscielny went on strike.

When has a player ever gone on strike at Arsenal? We’ve had issues with players like Ashley Cole, Robin van Persie and Emmanuel Adebayor, but they’ve never refused to play or follow club orders. After 22 years under Arsene Wenger, this was a first and it was under Unai Emery.

With Koscielny’s departure, went our captain. And if losing our best defender wasn’t enough, it spawned another problem. Who would be the next Arsenal captain?

The fans seemed to have a good idea. We watch our team week in, week out, and some obvious candidates appeared. Rob Holding and Hector Bellerin would have been popular choices, and there were even shouts for players such as Lacazette and Aubameyang, who had a lot of fight and desire, and would lead by example.

But what started was one of the strangest things we’ve ever seen – Emery would conduct a players vote.

What now?!

Unai Emery couldn’t make a decision that a manager should be making, showing his lack of authority and lack of decisiveness in the process.

And the million dollar question, why is this?

We know Granit Xhaka was annoyed that Emery didn’t just name him captain as soon as Koscielny left, with the process taking a couple of months. It has been rumoured that Emery asked at least one other player if they would be interested in being captain but they refused, resulting in the captaincy eventually going to Xhaka.

The players vote resulted in Granit Xhaka getting the most votes, and it’s clear that he is hugely popular in the dressing room.

Who does that sound like?

John Terry.

Is it that Granit Xhaka has too much power at Arsenal? Here are the facts:

  • He is loved and respected by his fellow players
  • He refuses to apologise for his unacceptable actions, despite the club telling him he should do so
  • He won’t relinquish the captaincy
  • He has constantly undermined the manager
  • He always gets picked, despite being out of form

The last few weeks have been revealing. Emery has stated several times that Xhaka should apologise – Xhaka refuses to apologise. Emery hasn’t stripped Xhaka of the captaincy – because Xhaka wants to remain Arsenal captain. Xhaka has made mistakes and played poorly this season – Emery is too scared to drop him.

People have been quick to judge Emery and say that he lacks authority, but it appears to me that Granit Xhaka has too much power and has gone power mad. He is like a John Terry figure who for whatever reason, is loved by his teammates, apparently, and we know that some of the senior players went to his house after his outburst at the Crystal Palace game.

What will happen next between player and manager? Well if things continue as they are then it won’t be Granit Xhaka leaving, that’s for sure.

 

Who do you want as Arsenal’s next manager? Here’s the Top 10 contenders!

It’s clear to see that Unai Emery and Arsenal is a relationship that isn’t working.

When Unai Emery first came in, he talked a good game. Actually, scratch that, he talked a great game.

I remember when Ivan Gazidis revealed that Emery would be the next Arsenal manager, I was impressed with what the Spaniard had to say. He talked about having a detailed dossier on every Arsenal player, he talked about how he can improve each player and also discussed how Arsenal can improve overall as a team.

But since that faithful day 18 months ago, things have actually got worse. Much worse.

Under Arsene Wenger we were a free flowing attacking team, that couldn’t defend. Now, we’re a team that still can’t defend but now are sterile in attack. We have a player in Aubameyang who is a world class striker but he can’t score goals because he doesn’t get any service. If he was at Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City or even Leicester City, he’d be scoring at least a goal a game. Against Sheffield United and Crystal Palace, he’s been starved of any service.

It’s obvious things aren’t working out, and I would be stunned if Edu, Raul and the rest of the executive team weren’t sounding out possible replacements. They have to be surely?

And looking at the recent reports, there seems to be 10 names in the frame at the moment.

So below, I have listed the 10 managers who are rumoured to be on our radar:

  • Jose Mourinho
  • Massimiliano Allegri
  • Mikel Arteta
  • Thierry Henry
  • Patrick Vieira
  • Brendan Rodgers
  • Freddie Ljungberg
  • Rafael Benitez
  • Eddie Howe
  • Espirito Santo

But who would you like to see as Arsenal’s next manager? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below!

 

Why Jose Mourinho is the man to save our season and the perfect fit for Arsenal

The Special One…

I wrote a couple of days ago that the man to turn Arsenal’s fortunes around is Jose Mourinho. If you read the comments section, you will see the vast majority of replies (I think all of them actually) were negative.

Now, he’s emerging as the favourite to replace Unai Emery.

Should you just call me Mystic Mike from now on?

In a nutshell, here are the reasons why Jose Mourinho would thrive at Arsenal and bring us success (and a guaranteed Top 4 finish):

  • Proven winner
  • Excellent man-manager
  • Is tactically astute
  • Gets the best out of players
  • Will get the best out of Mesut Özil
  • Can coach defence

He’s available, has roots in London and can start straight away.

So what are Arsenal waiting for?

Fans who have concerns about his temperament have been watching Arsene Wenger far too long to realise there is more than one approach. Yes, Mourinho can be confrontational but he has also been proven to rally the troops, get the team together and give them that siege mentality, and most importantly believe that winning is actually important.

The last point is something that has been lost over the last 10 years, and it wouldn’t do us any harm at all to have a squad that actually values winning. How often have we been called mentally weak? How many times have we been told we don’t have any leaders?

Jose Mourinho, whatever you think of him, is a born winner.

Look at his first stint at Chelsea. That team was immense. Look at Porto – he won the UEFA Cup and Champions League with them against the odds. Look at Inter Milan – most of their squad cried when he left.

When he gets it right, Jose Mourinho is the best out there, and for me he is better than Pep Guardiola.

Mourinho has won the Champions League twice, both times with teams who were nowhere near being favourites in that competition. He’s won countless titles and has a more impressive trophy haul than Guardiola.

Guardiola has been at Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Manchester City – all of whom have had the most money and the most talented players. There’s no doubt he’s a talented coach, but he’s had far more resources and help along the way.

Mourinho has a track record of winning with any team, with any budget and with any personnel.

If the Arsenal board have any real ambition, they will seize the moment and bring in Jose Mourinho before the chance is gone.

 

Why on Earth is Granit Xhaka Arsenal’s new captain?!

I don’t understand either, Granit.

What is going on at Arsenal?

We’ve known Laurent Koscielny was leaving Arsenal a long time ago so Unai Emery has had a lot of time to think about who should be Arsenal’s next captain.

This whole thing has just become a joke in the footballing world, when earlier this week it was revealed that Unai Emery held a vote to see who the Arsenal players wanted as the next captain.

And then it was announced that we were going to have 5 captains?!

We’ve struggled with our performances and results this season, so the last thing Arsenal fans want is a manager who is indecisive and can’t even make a fundamental decision of picking the captain of his team.

As this week progressed, reports emerged that Rob Holding was the man who had the most votes, something the vast majority of Arsenal fans were more than happy with.

But then, the news came through… Granit Xhaka, a man who makes mistakes on a regular basis and brings nothing to the team, was selected as Arsenal’s new captain.

WTF?

This is a man who brings nothing to the team. He can’t tackle, he can’t defend, he’s lost the ability to do the only thing he was good at – spray the ball across the pitch… it’s all a but of a joke.

There are about 5 players who I could name who would be FAR better choices as Arsenal captain.

The first being Rob Holding – a young, dedicated player who is consistent and can lead by example. We have Aubameyang, a player who has single-handedly carried Arsenal for most of this season and last, a player who gives 110% and more importantly – is a regular starter. Lacazette has passion and can lead by example, Hector Bellerin is also a strong candidate and then we have someone like Sokratis who is another player who gives 110% and consistently puts in good performances.

The problem I have with Granit Xhaka being captain is that it effectively means he can’t be dropped – when most Arsenal fans realise that he is the main reason we haven’t been performing.

To be a good defensive midfielder, you need several qualities. You either need to be quick and have the vision to intercept balls (like Kante), big strong and good in the tackle (like Matic) or have great positional sense and leadership qualities (like Roy Keane). Sadly for us, Xhaka has none of those abilities and if anything, is a liability.

For me, this is bad, bad news and could be the downfall of Arsenal this season (in terms of having hopes of finishing in the Top Four) and could also be the beginning of the end for Unai Emery’s reign at Arsenal.

 

Thank You For Everything You’ve Done For Us, Aaron Ramsey

Arsenal played against Brighton yesterday in their last home game of the season but the match and result for me were irrelevant. Our recently form meant that we had already called behind too much and therefore blown the Top 4 before we even kicked a ball, so the main focus is the departure of a man who has given so much to Arsenal.

There will be the obvious talk about how we’ve managed to pay a player like Özil £350,000 a week, who has contributed with 2 assists all season, and with that managed to let a player of Ramsey’s stature leave on a free.

He will be going to Juventus, to play along world class players like Cristiano Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala, and I for one will be following his Italian adventure and the Old Lady will be the team I will be supporting in the Champions League next season – I would love it if Aaron Ramsey won the biggest prize in Europe.

Now we’ve got that out of the way, what about Aaron Ramsey’s Arsenal career?

He said it himself yesterday, he arrived a boy and leaves a man. In an emotional post-match interview yesterday with Sky Sports, he was clearly moved by the whole day and it is a big wrench for him to leave – making it blindly obvious if Arsenal offered enough money he’d still be in an Arsenal shirt next year.

He was a player who didn’t want or seek the limelight, but scored important goals big games, and always put in big performances. He scored the winner in our first post-Emirates move FA Cup Final, and did the same a couple of years later by scoring the winner against Chelsea. He scored some memorable goals against Liverpool, Norwich (twice), Chelsea, Hull City, Tottenham… in fact you can some some of his best goals here:

He was a player who was underrated and at times, under appreciated by the fans. He suffered the horrific leg break against that c*nt in a game at Stoke City and he had the mental and physical strength to come back from that a stronger, better player. I remember the whole thing like it was yesterday – and along with the Eduardo leg break against Birmingham City – was the most devastated I’ve been as an Arsenal fan. The club will always have ups and downs in terms of results and trophies, but when a player who has given so much to the club and is one of your own suffers a shocking awful injury like that, they are the moments that really hit you.

Unlike some other players who have left the club in the not so recent past, Aaron Ramsey will be one departure where every Arsenal fan will wish him all the best. He is a special player, a special man and someone who gave blood, sweat and tears for the club.

Thank you for all the memories Aaron, and I hope you go to Juventus and win everything there is to win there.