Wenger backs Xhaka to control his disciplinary impulses


Arsene Wenger has admitted that Granit Xhaka can be a little impulsive at times, but has backed the midfielder to control himself should he get the nod for the derby on Sunday.

It looks increasingly likely that Santi Cazorla will miss out, having not trained since the 6-0 win over Ludogorets last month, so the Swiss international could be the man to dictate the midfield flow alongside a holding player like Coquelin or Elneny.

With two yellow cards and one red in his 11 appearances so far, there have been some questions over his temperament, but the Arsenal manager believes he can stay in control

“Discipline is important,” he said, “because we want to be effective in all situations we face and in the derby it is important to keep control of your reaction and to have a strong discipline. It is part of the effectiveness in these games.

“Normally Granit is a very composed and calm guy, sometimes on the field he has a reaction that is a bit impulsive and he knows that. He has to work on that and keep control of his reactions in the game.”

With Sp*rs a physical, aggressive, niggly team – especially when things aren’t going their way – this could be a test for Xhaka and his teammates.

Let’s hope so anyway.


  1. Not only are Sp*urs physical, aggressive and niggly, they’re also a bunch of thundercunts.

    Hope Xhaka twats one right into Dele Alli’s cock.

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  2. Xhaka may be impulsively cynical at times but he is in the right place, and has the right manager, to learn how to control those urges.

    I think he is ready for Sunday as he never really seems to be overwhelmed by any occasion. Besides, we need a solid midfield with plenty of “style and steel” to handle that shower of shit from the unfashionable side of North London.

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  3. If Santi isn’t back, I’d go for El Neny and Granit in midfield. I’m still not over that Coquelin red from the last NLD at their place. Also, that combo can keep the ball and starve the Spuds of possession.

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  4. We have been missing a strong “spine” for too many years.
    Now we have the Coq and the Xhak, patrolling the midfield spine ( I call it the ” heat zone “), and I like it……..in fact I like it a lot.

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    • The problem I’ve always had with this is that it’s essentially two players doing the job of what should be one defensive midfielder.

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      • Not really. Santi is technically a pivot while Coquelin acts as an enforcer, meaning our attacking four are free to do their job.

        I know that many would like a hybrid “Coqzorla” player but such a player would not be able to aggressively stifle as many attacks as he would be busy liaising with our defenders and trying to dictate play from deep.

        Makelele filled this role for Chelsea very well, so there is a good reason to want a player like that, but our current team setup has more flexibility.

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        • Well, hard to find hybrid kind of player “coqzorla”.. Makelele isbone if them, but he’s better in defensive side.. Another i could remember is Xabi Alonso, fair in defensive side but got damn-a-field-long range of passing.. But lately i could see coquelin make some long range passing, maybe he could be this “coqzorla”?

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      • You have a problem Cazorla and Coquelin because of the situation that a defensive midfielder who is as good at football as Cazorla and as tenacious as Coquelin doesn’t exist?

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  5. I’d go for Xhaka-El Neny personally, having Granit-Coq seems like too much of a red card risk, and I was really impressed with their double act against Notts.

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  6. After decades of being a minor presence in the league the Tots are being touted as title contenders in the same breath as us (grudgingly they haven’t lost a game yet, although behind us in the table).

    So, it would be good end that unbeaten run in the league (no that I’m worried about it lasting) and raise genuine Qs about them. That’s one thing Fergi did well – crush the confidence of any title pretender even before they put up a challenge. Ofcourse Wenger was the only one who gloriously kicked Fergi a number of times.

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  7. Long may Xhaka continue with his so called indiscipline, it’s what we’ve missed for the past ten years.

    2 yellows and a red (which i think was harsh) in 11 games isn’t bad and had the red been a yellow it would have been a very good yellow to get as it stopped a 4 on 2/3 breakaway. It was the professional thing to do, and the same could be said of the yellow he got on Tuesday.

    Picking up cards is one of the downsides of the position but sometimes a central midfielder has to take a yellow to protect his team, what’s important is that they do it intelligently not that they don’t do it.

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  8. I reckon Arsene will go Coq/ Elneny…………Coq is a no brainier and therefore Elneny beside him as the “accelerator ” (Rosicky style). No disrespect to Xhaka, but him and Coq in there together ?……..there’d be a bloodbath!!!!
    Meanwhile, I now officially love ( and I mean ” love “),Mr Clattenberg. Standing up to that Prick.
    Good on you mate.

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  9. Coq lost his head in the derby last season when we were in control, and it proved costly. It should no doubt serve as a good deterrent for Xhaka’s occasional impulsiveness!

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  10. If Santi is not 100%, Granit must start.

    He provides the sort of deep lying vision and can execute pin point delivery from long range. It is partially why Wenger panic bought him and so early on.

    Granit BOTH covers Coquelin as a DM and also provides forward offensive power with goals and long range passes (something we missed when Santi was out last season)

    AND like the whole GIroud or Alexis up top question, there is no PLAN B nonsense.

    All options are available.

    We can play Coquelin or Granit or BOTH.

    Why be so limiting in thought to have to say it is either one of the other. Its the same people who said Wenger was out of his mind to rely on Alexis to start as CF for the season to now say Alexis has to be up top only and Giroud is only a Plan B or for the matter Coquelin or Granit and no other permutation.

    It lacks imagination and does not take into account that players come ina nd out of form, plus we need the flexibility not to mention unpredictability of line up.

    Spurs or any opposition for the matter will now have to guess very hard who we start. We can effectively play two ways with Giroud as target and menace around the box or a more mobile front 3 system. BOTH are effective as can be seen by Giroud coming in seemlessly to score and win it for us against Sunderland when we were struggling.

    For me, Granit and Coquelin do the same job in midfield(like Alexis and Giroud do up top) but differently.

    Coquelin works with Santi because the latter is mature to know when to drop back and cover. Le Coq has a more dynamic defensive style and presses higher and more aggressively to win possession.

    Granit doesn’t do that as much and sits deeper but he brings as mentioned the offensive vision and he allows the midfield partner to push higher instead.

    If we remember last season properly, Flamini and Ramsey held well for us when we were short on our best players from December to February. It was a critical period which we won against City AND in a very high pressure game against Olympiakos.

    It was when our goals dried up that the duo became unstuck in one game. Ramsey tried to press and play higher to make up for the lack of goals and became detached from Flamini who at his age was not mobile enough to cover the ground.

    When Coquelin came back in, we actually leaked more goals. Plaing without Santi, he had to adjust to Ramsey and had poorer results than Flamini. Ramquelin leaked 13 goals in 7 matches. This was with sporadic introduction of Elneny too to no avail.

    So the midfield combination/understanding is a fragile thing which takes time to develop in understanding.

    There should be no reason that a Granit/Coquelin combination will not eventually be successful but they have got to work together and work out their kinks/strengths.

    As I mentioned, all options are open right now.

    That is a good thing.;)

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    • If Wenger remains true to form, Coquelin will start as Arsene rightly has a huge amount of confidence and faith in the tigerish Frenchman against the toughest teams. If I had to bet, and if Santi is indeed unable to play Sunday, Xhaka will be Le Coq’s partner. I think Wenger’s warning to Xhaka regarding impulse control was his way of hinting that Granit will start but needs to watch his tackling. I also think it is telling that Wenger keeps calling Xhaka a box-to-box (albeit primarily from deep-lying position) midfielder as I believe he sees him as eventually taking over Santi’s position as the tiny Spanish dancer gracefully ages and when Granit has truly become accustomed to the frenetic pace of the Premier League. This belief obviously runs counter to the Xhaka v. Coquelin debate amongst some of the supporters so I suppose only time will tell whether Wenger sees Le Coq and Xhaka as mutually inclusive/exclusive or looks for some other combination involving Ramsey or Elneny. One thing is for certain, we have lots of choices and competition for places, which is exactly what big clubs need to win titles and succeed at the highest levels.

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  11. I would go with Xhaka and El Neny for this game just to piss Coq off. We could do with a thunderbolt from El Neny/Xhaka for this game. Meanwhile, i want Coquelin to be so angry with himself for not making it to the NLD that he goes in and destroys the entire Manure 11 and Maureen. A tense Coq is the most efficient Coq.

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  12. Big loss if Santi doesn’t play we look a much better side when he does but taking that he doesn’t make it i would actually be happy with any of the combinations we could put together . Haven’t always been able to say that these last 10 years or so .

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