5th November, 2019
Granit Xhaka has been stripped of Arsenal’s captaincy despite been backed by other players to retain the position after fallout with fans.
Xhaka had reacted angrily to being jeered off by his own supporters in their 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace, appearing to tell supporters to “f*** off” as he left the pitch.
He was advised to apologise by Emery but released an explosive statement five days later in which he outlined the reasons behind his outburst without any direct apology.
Emery has left Xhaka out of his squad since the incident, and he has not travelled to Portugal to take part in Wednesday’s Europa League clash with Vitoria.
However, Arsenal’s coach, Unai Emery made the announcement on the captaincy decision Tuesday while responding to questions at his press conference.
Emery said: “I had a meeting with him and told him he is no longer in the captain’s group.
“He accepted my decision. We need to carry on and focus on tomorrow’s match (against Vitoria in Guimaraes on Wednesday afternoon).
“I needed to take a decision and now it’s closed.”
Xhaka was appointed captain after a dressing room poll amongst players in pre-season.
Three unnamed senior players reportedly visited Xhaka in his home after the Crystal Palace game to check on his wellbeing, and reports have suggested Emery’s grip on the dressing room is slipping – Xhaka is well-loved and respected.
Aubameyang captained the side against Wolves on Saturday and Emery confirmed he will take the armband moving forward.