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A brief history of Granit Xhaka costing Arsenal by not following his man

The midfielder gave us all a sense of deja vu after his latest blunder against Man United

There are three certainties in life; death, taxes and Granit Xhaka losing his man and costing Arsenal a goal.

The Swiss midfielder has endured another turbulent season with the Gunners and is still yet to win over the fans in his second year at the club.

Xhaka has had his good moments, the metronome performance against Atletico Madrid a recent standout, but he’s also been partial to some absolute shockers.

Arsenal’s decline is such that Xhaka can now be captain…

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Arsenal’s decline is such that Xhaka can now be captain…

A common trait of the self proclaimed leader is allowing the man who he should be marking to run off him easily, resulting in Arsenal conceding a goal.

There are several high-profile examples of Xhaka committing this error.

Bloody loves a red card

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Bloody loves a red card

We take a look back at the times when Xhaka completely forgot he was a footballer

1 Manchester United – Arsenal 29th April 2018

As Paul Pogba ran free at Arsenal’s inexperienced side on Sunday, Xhaka should have been the one taking responsibility and stopping the Frenchman in his tracks.

After all, he was the captain on the day… *Arsenal fans shudder*

Instead, Arsenal’s No29 slid in on Pogba, missed his tackle completely and then neglected to track the United man who would end up tapping in unchallenged.

Xhaka went flying in and Pogba just dances round him

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Xhaka went flying in and Pogba just dances round him

Got sent on his holidays

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Got sent on his holidays

The midfielder decides to stand on the penalty spot and just watch Pogba follow in for the scraps

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The midfielder decides to stand on the penalty spot and just watch Pogba follow in for the scraps

Don’t worry about the goal, mate, you just focus on your socks

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Don’t worry about the goal, mate, you just focus on your socks

Xhaka’s blunder left Graeme Souness raging during his half-time analysis, with the pundit doing his best impression of yer da.

Souness labelled the midfielder “a fool,” insisting that he’s “naive in the basics of football,” ouch!

Admittedly, Xhaka did have a much better second half, assisting Henrikh Mkhitaryan for a goal against his former club.

The error for Pogba’s goal would cost the Gunners though, as they lost 2-1.

CRUNCH

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CRUNCH

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2 Swansea – Arsenal 30th January 2018

A particular low-point in Arsenal’s season came on a rainy night in Wales.

Nacho Monreal had put the Gunners into the lead, before a classic meltdown from the North London side unravelled.

Crucial to this collapse was Xhaka’s bizarre decision to completely ignore Sam Clucas in the buildup to Swansea’s equalising goal.

The Swiss midfielder has a look at Clucas who is about to make his move

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The Swiss midfielder has a look at Clucas who is about to make his move

He fails to track the Swansea midfielder and lets him run free

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He fails to track the Swansea midfielder and lets him run free

Xhaka’s decision leaves poor old Petr Cech and co right in it

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Xhaka’s decision leaves poor old Petr Cech and co right in it

Great effort, mate

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Great effort, mate

The Gunner’s went onto lose the match 3-1 and Xhaka’s stock amongst Arsenal fans plummeted once again.

3 Bournemouth – Arsenal 14th January 2018

The Gunners fell to a disappointing 2-1 defeat away to Bournemouth and Xhaka was up to his old tricks once more.

Arsenal’s defensive midfielder again proved his lack of ability to actually play in that position.

Xhaka allowed Jordon Ibe to run off him and the fire past Cech unchallenged to give Bournemouth all three points

Jordon Ibe is ready to turn and chase the long ball, Xhaka is yet to recognise the danger

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Jordon Ibe is ready to turn and chase the long ball, Xhaka is yet to recognise the danger

Ibe finds himself ahead of his man as Callum Wilson lays the ball back

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Ibe finds himself ahead of his man as Callum Wilson lays the ball back

Xhaka gets a front row seat to watch the Bournemouth man score

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Xhaka gets a front row seat to watch the Bournemouth man score

Swings his arms out in frustration… yet it was his fault?

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Swings his arms out in frustration… yet it was his fault?

Xhaka berating his team-mates after the goal was criminal, as the guilty man looked to place the blame elsewhere.

The midfielder has won over 50 caps for Switzerland but got outplayed by Dan Gosling on the day.

Dan Gosling > Granit Xhaka

PA:Press Association
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Dan Gosling > Granit Xhaka

4 Watford – Arsenal 14th October 2017

This one was massively embarrassing.

Xhaka allowed Tom Cleverly of all people to win the game for Watford dramatically in the 92nd minute.

The midfielder was caught with his finger plunged up his nose when the Hornet’s man was busy scoring from close range.

Watford were applying late pressure and Xhaka lets the elusive Cleverly get ahead of him

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Watford were applying late pressure and Xhaka lets the elusive Cleverly get ahead of him

The ball ricochets off several players and falls perfectly for Cleverly… the Arsenal man watches on, finger up his nose

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The ball ricochets off several players and falls perfectly for Cleverly… the Arsenal man watches on, finger up his nose

Nowhere near his man

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Nowhere near his man

Too busy having a good old dig

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Too busy having a good old dig

The match ended in defeat for Arsenal, with Troy Deeney publicly calling out the Gunners afterwards for their lack of “cojones.”


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It remains to be seen whether Xhaka’s long-term future will be in North London.

The new season will bring a change of management at Arsenal and a less forgiving character than Arsene Wenger might not have time for the midfielder’s failure to learn from his mistakes.

Fans still can’t work out whether Xhaka is actually any good or not:


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