Arsenal captain Xhaka to miss Wolves clash amid fan feud
Unai Emery confirmed on Friday that Granit Xhaka will miss Arsenal’s home match against Wolverhampton Wanderers this weekend as the Swiss midfielder’s fan feud rumbles on.
Xhaka appeared to swear at Arsenal supporters after his second-half substitution prompted sarcastic cheers and booing during Sunday’s 2-2 home draw with Crystal Palace, with the 27-year-old cupping his ears, waving his arms angrily and ripping off his shirt before storming down the tunnel.
Xhaka has faced calls to be stripped of the Arsenal captaincy and he was left out of Wednesday’s League Cup defeat at Liverpool after Gunners boss Emery admitted his reaction was wrong.
“He said sorry, he gave the apologies to the supporters, to everybody and now the focus is for tomorrow’s match,” Emery told reporters ahead of Saturday’s clash at the Emirates Stadium.
“It is not in my mind that he is going to play tomorrow. I am thinking tomorrow he is not going to play because I think now we need also to be focused only 100 per cent on the match.
“Now we are going to train but at the moment, he’s not in my mind.”
Xhaka, who was also booed against Aston Villa earlier this season, revealed on Thursday he reached boiling point following a series of sick taunts toward him and his family via social media.
With Wolves visiting the Emirates this weekend, it is possible Xhaka would have endured more abuse after the statement offered only a faint apology for his actions.
Xhaka was already a disliked figure among many Arsenal fans after lacklustre displays since his 2016 arrival from Borussia Moenchengladbach.
His failure to block the cross that led to Palace’s equalising goal on Sunday was the final straw for some fans as they vented their frustrations.
A decision over the captaincy remains to be announced, although Xhaka is said to retain the backing of Arsenal’s players, who voted him as skipper in pre-season.
It is believed Arsenal have offered counselling to Xhaka given his fragile state of mind and, asked if he would retain the armband, Emery kept his cards close to his chest.
“We were waiting for his statement on Monday ahead of the last press conference here on Tuesday,” he said.
“The next step is tomorrow’s match. He is training normally with the team, he didn’t play at Liverpool and he is continuing and above all has remained focused on tomorrow.”