Granit Xhaka

Xhaka to miss Arsenal clash with Leicester

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For the second-straight Premier League match, and fourth in all competitions, Arsenal will be without its now-ex captain, Granit Xhaka.

Still dealing with the fallout from Xhaka’s disconcerting exit from Arsenal’s 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace and his follow-up half-apology, Arsenal manager Unai Emery revealed on Friday that Xhaka would miss Saturday’s top-6 clash with Arsenal traveling to face Leicester City.

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Xhaka had his club captaincy stripped away from him earlier this week, and while the British media loves to jump to conclusions, there’s certainly a possibility that Xhaka has actually played his last match as a Gunner, driven out by hateful messages from supporters in response to his rough run of form this year.

“I spoke with him,” Emery said of Xhaka. “I spoke with him on Tuesday about how he’s feeling now and how he is in his mind. He’s working well, he’s training well, but he said to me that he’s not feeling good enough at the moment to play. We are going to wait.”

Xhaka’s mental and emotional stability may be teetering, and it’s certainly best for him to take some time now to reevaluate his career and where he wants. to be.

In the meantime, while Xhaka’s situation plays out, it leaves Arsenal with just two first-choice central midfield players, Matteo Guendouzi and Lucas Torreira. Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Joe Willock could potentially help out there as well, or even David Luiz in an emergency situation. That position on the field should be important this weekend, with Youri Tielemans and Wilfrid Ndidi both having great seasons.

Report: Granit Xhaka to leave Arsenal in January

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This outcome was inevitable.

After Granit Xhaka was stripped of the Arsenal captaincy on Tuesday, various reports have immediately emerged that the midfielder will leave the Gunners during the January transfer window.

A report from The Times states that Xhaka’s future at Arsenal is non-existent and the Switzerland national team captain will be made available for transfer in January.

Xhaka, 27, has publicly apologized after he swore and gestured at Arsenal’s fans, threw off the captains armband and stormed down the tunnel as home supporters cheered his substitution in their 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace on Oct. 27.

He hasn’t played for Arsenal since.

Xhaka’s public apology took four days and in that apology he hit out at supporters for their vile abuse of him and his family.

The central midfielder has become a scapegoat for Arsenal’s poor form this season and he was only appointed captain at the start of the campaign after manager Unai Emery conducted a vote among Arsenal’s players to select a club captain.

Xhaka hasn’t handled this situation well, at all, but Arsenal’s supporters should also take a look at themselves for jeering one of their own players off the pitch.

Did Xhaka react badly? Yes. Was it a situation which had been bubbling up over many months? Yes. Should Arsenal’s fans single out one player to abuse given most of their team have been underperforming? No.

Nobody wins in this situation, as Xhaka will at least get a fresh start elsewhere as his two-and-half year stay at Arsenal can be described as nothing short of a disaster, on the pitch.

Off the pitch it looks to have ended disastrously too.

Xhaka stripped of Arsenal captaincy; Aubameyang takes over

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Granit Xhaka has been stripped of the Arsenal captaincy as one of the final dominoes to fall in the wake of his confrontational actions toward the Arsenal fans who booed him off the field last month.

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Unai Emery announced on Tuesday that Xhaka will surrender the captain’s armband with immediate effect and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will take over the honorary position. Xhaka has been left out of the Arsenal squad for Wednesday’s Europa League clash away to Portuguese side Vitoria Guimaraes.

The only remaining question to be answered is whether or not Xhaka remains an active Arsenal player for the rest of November and all of December, which could then be followed by a month on nonstop speculation during the January transfer window.

Emery didn’t indicate whether Xhaka lost the captaincy for his actions alone, or his refusal to offer an outright apology to the club’s fans, as Emery made it known to all that he thought Xhaka should do.

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The 27-year-old said the following in a statement on Instagram last month:

“The scenes that took place around my substitution have moved me deeply. I love this club and always give 100 percent on and off the pitch.

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

“People have said things like, ‘We will break your legs,’ ‘Kill your wife’ and ‘Wish that your daughter gets cancer’. That has stirred me up and I reached boiling point when I felt the rejection in the stadium on Sunday.”

Arsenal boss Emery to sit Xhaka against Wolves

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Arsenal manager Unai Emery confirmed on Friday that he will not play embattled midfielder Granit Xhaka against Wolverhampton Wanderers at home this Saturday, and would not confirm that Xhaka will continue as club captain.

Xhaka has come under fire for his aggressive reaction towards supporter abuse while being subbed off against Crystal Palace, appearing to swear at supporters who booed his performance as he exited. Opinions about Xhaka’s actions began to fly every which way, with many calling for the club to sanction the captain or sell him at the earliest possibility.

“I think that tomorrow, he is not going to play,” Emery said in his pre-match press conference on Friday. “Because I think that now, we need to be focused on the match at 100 per cent. Now we are going to train but at the moment, he’s not in my mind.”=

The 27-year-old did not play against Liverpool in the EFL Cup on Wednesday and issued an apology for his actions Thursday, explaining how supporter abuse has overstepped its bounds both in-person and via social media, causing him to eventually release pent-up anger when the boos rained down. Still, he apologized for reacting “in a way that disrespected the group of fans that support our club.”

“Xhaka’s issues last week is one issue that needs time,” Emery said. “He needs time to recover the normality in him. He said sorry. He gave apologies to the supporters and everybody. Now is the focus on tomorrow’s match.”

It is not surprising that Emery would not wish to subject Xhaka to the home crowd at the Emirates so soon after the player showed harsh animosity towards the fans. However, it was somewhat surprising that Emery would not confirm that Xhaka still serves as captain, and there will likely be more on that in the near future.

“The next step is tomorrow’s match,” Emery said when asked about Xhaka’s future as captain. “The focus is tomorrow’s match. It’s not in my mind that he will play tomorrow.”

For Saturday, Xhaka’s absence could mean the return of Mesut Ozil above the midfield duo of Lucas Torreira and Mateo Guendouzi. Ozil has not seen Premier League action since mid-September when he played the only 71 league minutes he has logged this campaign. The German international was excellent against Liverpool in the wild EFL Cup match on Wednesday, and after being substituted in the second half, speculation grew that Emery was saving Ozil for a Premier League run-out over the weekend.

Arsenal releases statement from Xhaka detailing fan abuse

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No one’s excusing Granit Xhaka for swearing and gesticulating at the home fans who booed him off the pitch this weekend, but plenty are going to have sympathy for the Arsenal captain after he released an emotional statement on Thursday.

Xhaka, 27, admits to having been deeply hurt by reprehensible comments from “fans” on social media, and said it all boiled over on the pitch. The Swiss star had been dealing with disgusting comments regarding both him and his family, and admitted that they had affected him greatly. He is asking fans to join him in going back to a “place of mutual respect.”

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When someone wishes death and disease on your wife and baby daughter, well, what’s wrong with people?

Those comments are far from excusable, and imitate the worst qualities of humans. Yes, there is a pretty vile culture right now where folks believe they’re entitled to call names and berate  people of all sorts — and not just on social media — but the fact that Arsenal green lit this statement from Xhaka shows that the club recognizes how bad things have gotten between players and fans.

Look at even the tamer comments on this Instagram photo of Xhaka and his new daughter, saying things like, “I hope you’re a better father than a football player” and begging him to take paternity leave.

The other thing about Xhaka is that whether he’s being played out of position, utilized incorrectly, or simply not playing well, the guy clearly busts his bones for Arsenal. There’s a reason his teammates elected him captain, and he cares deeply for the club. How that ever gets to death and cancer threats is beyond the pale and against the very nature of what it means to care about the club.

Either way, we’re unabashedly in his corner. Making millions of pounds/dollars/euros may allow fans to judge players critically, but it doesn’t turn them into inanimate targets. At least it shouldn’t.