Wenger: Xhaka has been a success

xhaka watford 2016

Arsene Wenger says Granit Xhaka can consider his first season in the Premier League to be a success.

The Switzerland international’s performances have been under the microscope since he signed from Borussia Moenchengladbach with many on the terraces and in the media questioning whether he’s lived up to his hefty £35 million price tag.

After a rocky start to life in London that included a spell on the bench, two red cards and the boss being slightly perplexed as to whether he’s a box-to-box midfielder, an enforcer or a deep-lying playmaker, the 24-year-old has settled into his rhythm in the centre of the park.

Citing the improvement Xhaka has made over the course of the campaign and his commitment to training, Wenger played up the Swiss’ contribution.

“He has adapted, and become stronger and stronger throughout the season,” he told Arsenal Player.

“I think today you can say he is a success because he is getting stronger in every single game, and also he has a good, consistent focus. I believe this is a very important quality.

“He turns up every day in training with full commitment. He has a very good focus, every single day – which you can say about all of our midfielders. He never misses a training session and that’s certainly why he has improved throughout the season.

“When we play at home especially, and you are dominating the games, it’s important to have someone who can pass from deep areas through the lines. We looked for someone who could do that and I felt he had those specific qualities to do that.”

Despite a niggly calf problem it is expected that Xhaka will start alongside Aaron Ramsey when the Gunners take on Stoke City. Let’s hope he can continue his good form…

Leave a Reply

35 Comments on "Wenger: Xhaka has been a success"

newest oldest most voted
Mr. White

I rate this guy highly. Can’t wait to see the football we play when there’s a top class partner next to him in midfield

Ayush Jain

You mean Cazorla 😉


Arsene, the way you define success has changed and it’s sad to see

Mein Bergkampf

He also went on to say “These are not the droids you are looking for.”


dont know if he is a success or not , its probably mixed. but theres no denying that xhaka will be an absolute monster for us in the future . the qualities are there , and with his leadership and maybe with a better manager he would be our midfield general for years to come

Me So Hornsey

“When we play at home especially, and you are dominating the games, it’s important to have someone who can pass from deep areas through the lines”

Ah, except when we’re NOT dominating games and are getting high pressed is when the question marks have arisen over Granit. Unfortunately for him, we haven’t dominated as much or in as many games as we used to.

Faisal Narrage

Ha, should’ve figured someone else would’ve spotted it.

It’s been known for a while now that our weakness are teams that press and harass us and try and dominate the ball as much as we do.

Rather than Wenger plan for that, he’s planning for the situations that haven’t really been that much of a problem for is recent years.

Mbappe to the future

Jesus. How often do other players miss training sessions then?


You are reading too much into what he is saying. He is complimenting Xhaka not criticising the others.

Mbappe to the future

Possibly. But surely it should be such a rare occurrence to be negligible and not worth mentioning.


I think you are a lovely intelligent guy who really tries hard. But you aren’t the only Arsenal fan that is.

I reckon he’s say the same for all the other Arsenal players, except Santi the lazy little bugger. (Cue horror from those without a sense of humour.)


Xhaka will be even better next season. I still insist we needed him more than Kante. The fact these pundits keep harping on how we should’ve gotten Kante over him shows they are quite frankly clueless. Kante would’ve been a replacement for Coquelin.

Mbappe to the future

A pretty good replacement of Coq too.

Ozil\'s left foot

Only at Arsenal he wouldn’t have been good enough. He runs around too much.. is too defensive.. is not viera.. is not gilberto.. we would then have needed xhaka more than kante.. he doesn’t show enough heart..


Nothing can replace my Coq


I would respectfully disagree. I think Kante is the ball winning defensive midfielder we needed and still need. He is an upgrade from Coquelin. If you look at his on field contributions I doubt Leicester or Chelsea would have won the premier league title without him in their lineup. I like Xhaka but we need that Kante style of player, a true defensive midfielder that shields the back four (or three), breaks up play and starts counters.

Faisal Narrage

Imo the truth is we need a kante next to Xhaka and the other truth is that Ramsey is better off as a no.10 like he is for Wales. There he can make his runs to his hearts content and use his energy to press the opposition without being a defensive liability, whilst a Kante and Xhaka would dominate the midfield. Ozil is better off then doing a job in a wife position, like he does for Germany.

But none of this will ever happen.


I think Kante and Coq was at simlilar level last season but this season Kante stepped up to become even better and Coq missed Cazolra.. Kan te would have been an upgrade on Coq but we couldn’t get both Xhaka and Kante…


Kante and Coq were at a similar level last season? Lol. Probably the most ridiculous thing i have read on this site.


No need to define Xhakas success as an indication another player wouldn’t have worked here.

Kante at Leicester – wins the league
Kante at Chelsea – wins the league

I still think we need a Kante-type player to truly compete at the top.

Ol\' Granny Xhaka

True, but we have been crying out for a deep lying playmaker since Arteta’s decline and eventual leave, not to mention since Cazorla had kind of taken up the mantle in that regard and we’ve missed him greatly. Kante would have been excellent but do we really think he’d have paired that well with Ramsey? I suppose we can never say for sure but I don’t think he’d have fixed our midfield necessarily. Kante and Xhaka together though… That would be some midfield

Faisal Narrage

Then play Ramsey as a no.10 or just drop him.
This team is full of square players put in circle positions. No wonder we look so unbalanced at times.

a different George

When Chelsea have played against more defensive teams, they have paired Kante with a slow, poor-tackling, defensively semi-clueless partner, who is rather good at picking out his forwards’ runs and technically pretty decent. Spanish fellow who, I think, Arsenal supporters may have seen once or twice.

When they have played against attacking teams, they have paired him with Matic and relied almost entirely on counters and individual brilliance from Hazard and Pedro to create their chances.

In neither case does Kante have a primary responsibility as a playmaker or an attacker (not that he never does this–it’s just not his role). In other words, Kante plays the same role–much better, but the same role–as Coquelin. Not Xhaka.


completely agreed , we bought xhaka because we needed a replacement for arteta who can pass out from the deep and circulate possession not a player like kante who is good but completely different . besides i believe wenger went for xhaka because of his leadership qualities which again kante lacks . kante is a good player but not the right player for us . maybe if we had more money we could pair kante with xhaka and we will have the most kickass midfield pairing in the league.

Heavenly Chapecoense

What? Kante not right player for us? Have you seen how our midfield was dominated this season? The overall lack of energy in the team? Football for me is what happens on the pitch, the hard work and not names on paper.

Faisal Narrage

Only Arsenal fans would look down on Kante with such snobbery.

Kwame Ampadu Down

There is no such thing as a team that Kante isn’t the right player for

Heavenly Chapecoense

We needed Kante more than Ozil. Kante not a playmaker but we needed a guy who can relentlessly intercept, launch attack, tackle and get the ball back and pass the ball well.


You do know if we had gotten Kante instead of Xhaka, he’d have been pairing Coquelin?? How would that have worked out??we needed a dlp more than Kante

not so fed up

Lets kick some orc ass!!!

Little Mozart

Xhaka can handled being harried and pressed but the problem if he struggled to find somebody available to help him cope. Ramsey provides Hun with another passing option, along with the extra centreback in the new system.

Lord Bendtner

Some people have been jumping onto Xhaka and Mustafis backs this season, forgetting that it’s only their first season so far. We need to replace some of our more average players. And it’s going to be tougher to do that if we don’t get into the Champions League spot! So I really hope that we can pull this off, although it’s not entirely in our hands anymore.

Heavenly Chapecoense

Players care about CL only when they get equal money.


Erm…no boss, he really hasn’t. Not yet anyway.

Faisal Narrage

“When we play at home especially, and you are dominating the games, it’s important to have someone who can pass from deep areas through the lines. We looked for someone who could do that and I felt he had those specific qualities to do that.””

I like Xhaka and even likes that he’s a bit of a bastard, as we need that, but this comment by Wenger kinda typifies everything that’s wrong with his thinking.

The past years, our biggest issues haven’t been beaten the lesser teams, but losing against the big boys, who continuously expose our soft and overrun middle.

Rayer than seeking to rectify this bigger, Wenger instead focused on getting Xhaka with the main aim of breaking down those teams who sit deep and defend at the emirates, a problem for sure, but last few years our weakness has been what we do whenever we’re not the ones dominating possession and being batterer and pressed. Didn’t even seem that was a consideration for Wenger.

Always seems his answer to everythng is to “attack better”, rather than defend better.