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Unai Emery could face backlash after stripping Granit Xhaka of Arsenal captaincy

Unai Emery

Unai Emery’s decision to strip Granit Xhaka of the captaincy has not been universally welcomed by the Arsenal squad, according to reports.

Xhaka clashed with the Emirates Stadium crowd during last month’s 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace, when the home support cheered his substitution in the second half, before jeering the Switzerland international as he took his time to leave the pitch.

Xhaka responded by cupping his ear and appearing to swear at the fans, before removing his shirt and heading straight down the tunnel.

The midfielder was left out of the Arsenal team to face Liverpool in the League Cup last week, as well as for Saturday’s defeat by Leicester.

Xhaka also had the armband removed by Emery, with Aubameyang taking over from the former Borussia Monchengladbach man.

However, that decision has not gone down well with some members of the Arsenal squad.

While Xhaka lost the support of many Gunners fans following the incident against Palace, he remains a popular figure in the dressing room.

And according to The Athletic, several of his team-mates have expressed their disappointment in Emery’s intervention, believing that Xhaka should have been free to continue as captain.

Some within the setup think the 27-year-old was “thrown under the bus” despite the fact Xhaka explained his actions in a post on Instagram.

Others, however, believe Emery and the Arsenal hierarchy were right to name Aubameyang as the new captain, reasoning that Xhaka did not deserve to continue in the role after he failed to privately apologise to his colleagues.

Saturday’s 2-0 loss to Leicester leaves the Gunners eight points adrift of the top four, although Emery’s job is not thought to be under any immediate threat.

TheAthletic state that the Arsenal board remain 100 per cent behind the under-fire Spaniard, who will still be in charge for the meeting with Southampton after the international break.

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