Football Article

Xhaka dumped as Arsenal captain following fans blow-up

Xhaka dumped as Arsenal captain following fans blow-up Photo: TT
Granit Xhaka gestures to the crowd as they boo him as he leaves the pitch slowly after being substituted during the Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium

Arsenal have stripped Granit Xhaka of his club captaincy following his reaction to Gunners’ fans booing him off the pitch last week.

Xhaka has been left out of Arsenal’s matchday squad for the second consecutive match too, Thursday’s Europa League clash with Vitoria after missing the weekend’s 1-1 draw with Wolverhampton.

The incident occurred in Arsenal’s 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace when the Swiss midfielder was substituted, following by boos and jeers for the Emirates Stadium fans.

Xhaka reacted angrily, sarcastically cupping his ear, waving his arms in the air, cursing the fans before rejecting a handshake from boss Unai Emery and dumping his shirt on the way down the tunnel.

Emery said post-game that Xhaka had done the wrong thing but has only now decided to replace him as captain, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to take over.

“I have spoken to Granit and he is no longer one of the captains in the group,” Emery said.

“As I commented after the night of the game sometimes it’s hard to deal with feelings.

“He made a mistake. As a dressing room we have to be together. We back him. He has played his part.

“We respect the decision of the coach and the club. For us it’s to give him our love and care.”

Following the incident last week, Xhaka tried to explain his remorse and reaction on social media.

“I love this club and always give 100% on and off the pitch,” he posted.

“My feeling of not being understood by the fans, and repeated abusive comments at matches and in social media over the last weeks and months have hurt me deeply.”

Ben somerford
Sports Pundit staff writer
@bensomerford Australian journalist who specialises on all sports, focusing on football, tennis, basketball and racing, having written for global publications including FourFourTwo, AAP, Inside Futbol and many more....

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