2016 Has Been Very Positive, Happy Xhaka Says

Granit Xhaka, ArsenalArsenal midfielder, Granit Xhaka, believes he has been able to achieve a great deal in the ‘positive 2016’.

The Swiss international made the remark as he reeled out his achievements duirng the year in an interview with Arsenal Player on Thursday.

The 24-year-old qualified for the Champions League with Borussia Monchengladbach, featured at Euro 2016 and then left Germany for the Premier League.

“Half a year in Germany, half a year in England… so I was with Monchengladbach from January through to June, where we qualified for the Champions League, which made for a very interesting season.

“Then the transfer here to Arsenal, which I’m very proud of and made me very happy. I’m glad to have been able to make that step and I think the second half of the year has gone pretty positively.

“There have been a lot of nice highlights. The national team are doing great in qualifying for the World Cup so far, we’re in first [position in the group].

“We achieved what we wanted to with Gladbach – the Champions League qualification – and I was able to make the next big step in my career to Arsenal. So it’s all been very positive,” said an elated Xhaka.

Champions League: Guardiola Wants New Mindset Against Barcelona

Pep Guardiola: Champions League: Guardiola Wants New Mindset Against Barcelona
Pep Guardiola

Manchester City manager, Pep Guardiola is demanding a new mentality from his lads as they host Spanish giants, Barcelona in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Having lost the away leg 4-0 in Spain and placed second in Group C, one point in front of Borussia Monchengladbach, Guardiola wants the home game with Barca to be treated like a final

“We dropped two points against Celtic, so we have to recover those points,” said the former Barcelona manager.

“It’s not a final for them, it is a final for us.”

Aguero started the game at the Nou Camp on the bench but, following two goals in a win over West Brom in the Premier League on Saturday, is expected to start and right-back Pablo Zabaleta could also be available.

“We have to be focused for 90 minutes, knowing they are going to provoke mistakes because of the quality they have,” added Guardiola.

“But we had a few chances (in the first game) and have to keep going in that sense and try to finish better than we did in Barcelona.

“We will try. I have never entered a match thinking we can’t win but we have to play almost perfectly.”

However, with the words coming from the Barca camp, City might need to be cautious.

Even in the absence of four Barcelona players who started that game that City would like to forget, Barca boss, Luis Enrique is confident his team are capable of inflicting similar damage.

He has Andres Iniesta and Gerard Pique out of the game but not bothered because he knows exactly what to expect from Guardiola.

“I expect the same type of game as the last one,” said Enrique. “I don’t think City can be any more aggressive in terms of pressure. They were pressing us up to the stand almost. I expect a similar script. To make the pitch as big as possible. If they leave spaces behind, we will take advantage.

“City have played a lot of matches when they deserved to win but did not. I don’t think it is a determining factor. It is a short competition. If you make errors, you pay dearly.

“If we qualify after four matches, great. We only play one way: to win. If we don’t get the points, we will continue to play in our way. That is all we know how to do,” he said.

Davies Admits Celtic Face Tough Monchengladbach

Chris Davies, Celtic, Borussia MonchengladbachCeltic assistant manager, Chris Davies, acknowledges that his side will face a tough Borussia Monchengladbach in Tuesday UEFA Champions League clash.

Davies, however, is hopeful that the Bhoys have learned from their first meeting.

The Celts lost 2-0 at Paradise to the Bundesliga outfit.

The Briton says the Scottish champions have a plan and hopes to see the team execute it.

“It’s just about performing for us. They are a top team (and) this is a top competition.

“This is the top level we all want to be at. You have to be at your top level to get results.

“They are a very good team and we saw that at Celtic park,” Davies told the club’s website on Monday.

The 31-year-old adds that Borussia Monchengladbach are expansive, open, play quickly, and good with the ball.

“Defensively they are organised as well, so we’ve analysed (the) first game and we have a plan we can take to Germany now and hopefully we can execute the plan and get the result.”

Xhaka Looks Forward To Arsenal’s ‘Family Atmosphere’

Granit Xhaka, ArsenalGranit Xhaka says former Gunners Havard Nordtveit, Johan Djourou and Philippe Senderos encouraged him to join the “family” atmosphere at Arsenal.

The 23-year-old midfielder arrived in north London as Arsène Wenger’s first signing of the summer, having spent the last four years at Borussia Monchengladbach.

Xhaka says his former Gladbach team-mate Nordtveit and Swiss compatriots Djourou and Senderos talked up the positive atmosphere at the club.

“I spoke with [Nordtveit] about Arsenal and he told me it’s a big club, a family club and it’s very important for me to come here,” Xhaka told Arsenal Player.

“Philippe played here and I play with him in the national team. Johan and Philippe have only told me positive things.

“Arsenal is Arsenal. It’s not a small club, it’s a very big club and it’s like a family. It’s very good for me because I love my family and to have another family here is very good.”

Xhaka progressed through the youth ranks of Mohamed Elneny’s former side Basel, and the 23-year-old says he is looking forward to playing with the Egyptian.

“I know him by name, but when I went to Monchengladbach he came to Basel,” he said. “My brother played with him and I had heard of him before I came here. In Switzerland we produce very good young players and many of these players have come to England. That’s very good.”

 

Messi Named Best Player In Europe

messiBarcelona’s Lionel Messi has won the UEFA best player in Europe award, after beating Luis Suarez and Cristiano Ronaldo to the prize.

The 28-year-old shone in the second half of last season as he inspired Barcelona to the treble, with the club lifting the Champions League, Copa del Rey and La Liga.

Messi finished level on goals with Real Madrid star, Ronaldo and Barcelona team-mate Neymar in Europe in 2014/2015 – as all three men found the back of the net 10 times.

Meanwhile, in the grouping for the UEFA Champions League, Paris Saint Germain will play in Group A along with Real Madrid, Shakhtar Donetsk and Malmo.

Manchester United, who returned to the competition after a season absence, will confront PSV Eindhoven, CSKA Moscow and Wolfsburg in Group B.

Group C has Benfica, Atletico Madrid, Galatasaray and Astana.

In Group D are Juventus, Manchester City, Sevilla and Borussia Monchengladbach.

Defending champions, Barcelona are in Group E with Bayer Leverkusen, A.S. Roma and Bate Borisov.

Bayern Munich, Arsenal, Olympiacos and Dinamo Zagreb are in Group F.

Chelsea, FC Porto, Dynamo Kiev and Maccabi Tel-Aviv make up Group G.

Zenit Saint Petersburg, Valencia, Olympique Lyon and Kaa Gent filled up Group H.