Granit Xhaka is increasingly facing an acrimonious departure from Arsenal after falling out with a large section of supporters. The midfielder has been at Arsenal for almost 5 years and he has never been able to fulfil his expectations. Even then, Xhaka has been able to enjoy the captain’s armband due to his popularity within the dressing room.
The last few weeks have been tough on the Gunners with a couple of underwhelming results proving to be a major challenge for Unai Emery. The comfortable victories over the Standard Liège have been far and few between. The problem has just escalated for the Arsenal manager with the latest controversy surrounding Xhaka. As he was withdrawn during the 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace, Xhaka was jeered on by our own supporters. This may not have been the ideal reaction when trying to go for a victory, but Xhaka’s reaction for the same has left everyone speechless.
The sarcastic applause from Xhaka coupled with antagonising actions have catapulted the Swiss midfielder to the top of the headlines. Surprisingly, it has even shifted focus away from Arsenal dropping more points in the Premier League.
It is never a nice feeling for a player to be substituted in a match, but the conditions were such that Arsenal had to get a victory in order to keep up the chase for the top four places. Considering our poor away form, results at the Emirates Stadium were extremely important. However, Xhaka might have been unable to pick up the importance of time when he heard the loud jeering from own fans. The best idea for the Arsenal captain would have been to ignore those jeers and get away from the pitch as soon as possible. Yet, his reactions have now put him in a spot of bother.
The repercussions of Xhaka’s actions will be felt at Arsenal in the weeks to come. A number of factors need to be blamed for this current situation. Emery should have known a lot of better that Xhaka is not a character who could lead the team. The captain should be an example for players on and off the field. A captain’s form on the pitch should serve as an inspiration, but this simply has not been the case with Xhaka. He has been highly inconsistent and he would be one of the first names to come off – if he was the captain – after an hour. Arsenal fans have been used to seeing the likes of Patrick Vieira captain the team, and the decision to go with Xhaka was doomed right away.
Arsenal are preparing to hold discussions with the player in the aftermath of the incident. This is not the ideal preparation for the upcoming League Cup clash with Liverpool. The tournament holds a great deal of importance with Arsenal so far being inconsistent in the Premier League and Europe. Xhaka is certain to face a large fine. Whether he loses his captaincy – or even leaves the club – remains to be seen in the forthcoming weeks.