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No decision has been taken at the moment by Arsenal and manager Unai Emery over keeping Granit Xhaka as the club’s captain following his row with supporters on Sunday, sources have told ESPNFC.
Xhaka taunted Arsenal fans and removed his shirt when storming off the pitch after he was substituted during the side’s 2-2 draw to Crystal Palace on Sunday. The midfielder appeared to swear at his team’s own supporters, as well as waving his arms taunting supporters to jeer louder and cupping his ear.
Emery and technical director Edu Gaspar both had long discussions with the midfielder on Sunday and Monday. The Swiss international, who was off on Monday like the rest of the first-team squad, trained normally on Tuesday with his teammates but didn’t look himself at the club’s London Colney training ground. The club is fully behind him and supporting him as much as possible.
Emery said Xhaka was devastated about the row and he confirmed that the midfielder will not travel to Anfield to face Liverpool in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday.
“It’s not easy for him and for the team,” Emery said in a news conference on Tuesday. “He is now devastated, sad.
“He trained normally with the group but he is devastated. He is sad about that situation.
“His commitment is great every time. He wants to help. His behaviour was perfect in training, with the group and club.
“Really he knows he was wrong.”
When asked whether he believes Xhaka, who has since changed his Instragram profile picture from a photo of him in an Arsenal shirt to one of him in a Switzerland kit, should apologise to club supporters, Emery said: “Yes. I think when we make individual mistakes, we need to make apologies for one circumstance, I prefer to do. We suggested to him he do it.”
Emery said that midfielder Mesut Ozil could be in line to replace Xhaka as captain against Liverpool on Wednesday, despite making just one start and two substitute appearances in the Premier League this season.
Sources have also dismissed rumours that Emery’s position is under pressure at the Emirates. The Spanish manager has the full backing from the Kroenke family, which owns the club, and the board as well as head of football Raul Sanllehi and Edu, the sources said.
Despite some disappointing performances recently, such as the draws against Watford (2-2) and Crystal Palace (2-2) or the defeat away at Sheffield United (1-0), everyone is right behind Emery, the sources added.