Arsenal boss Unai Emery has urged team captain Granit Xhaka to apologise to the fans following a distasteful incident that came during the team’s 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace on Sunday.
The midfielder was booed off the pitch after he was substituted and would snap, swearing at Gunners fans and removing his shirt before leaving the ground. This leaves Emery in a tight spot as he’s to decide whether or not to keep Xhaka as captain.
On one hand, the Swiss international is popular in the dressing room and is well-liked by his colleagues, but one cannot see him returning to the team as the skipper – if at all – after such an ill-advised display.
Emery would not get drawn into discussing his plans for the armband but agreed that an apology is necessary.
“Yes [he should apologise]. We make mistakes, we need to apologise and we suggested for him to do that,” the Spaniard told reporters on Tuesday. “Really, he knows he was wrong and he feels inside very deep.”
According to The Athletic, three senior Arsenal players visited Xhaka at his house to offer their support. He has been given time off to recover mentally and will not be in the squad to face Liverpool on Wednesday.
Emery steered clear of confirming the midfielder would be stripped of the captaincy.
“At the moment I am not speaking and I don’t want to think about that,” he said. “It is not easy for him and for the team. We spoke yesterday, and Sunday night also, and this morning.
“He trained normally with the group but he is devastated and sad about the situation.”
The situation, as is, remains unresolved. And it couldn’t have come at a worse time, given the team’s form at the moment. Arsenal are in the fifth spot on the Premier League table, four points adrift of both Leicester City and Chelsea, who sit in third and fourth respectively.
Their hopes of returning to the Champions League appear to be slim at the moment but it’s still early days and there’s a long season left ahead, with 28 rounds still to play out in the top flight.
Of course, they aren’t considered a threat where the league title is concerned right now and Betfair are offering 325/1 odds on their chances of finishing in first place. If you’re keen on more information regarding this specific bookmaker, a Betfair sportsbook review could be found at OddsManager.
Liverpool are the current favourites for the trophy and 8/11 odds could be had from Betfair, who also have 11/10 odds on Manchester City, 50/1 odds on Chelsea, and 75/1 odds on Leicester.
The most realistic hope for Arsenal right now is a top-four finish but, given the Blues’ form as well as the Foxes, it’s probably going to be a dogfight. They’re 13/8 to finish the season in a Champions League spot with Betfair while Chelsea are 4/9 and Leicester are 6/4.
As it pertains to the Xhaka situation, it remains to be seen how it will play out but, for the time being, there doesn’t appear to be a way back for the 27-year-old.