Martin Keown explains why Arsenal fans turned against Unai Emery this season.
Unai Emery’s preference to play Granit Xhaka over Lucas Torreira is the reason most Arsenal fans turned against their manager this season, according to Martin Keown.
Torreira joined the Gunners from Sampdoria last season and has quickly turned into a fans’ favorite.
His performances helped the club reach the final of the Europa League as well as finishing inside the Premier League’s top five.
However, Emery started this season with Xhaka as his choice over the Uruguayan and Keown believes that was when things began to go wrong for the former Sevilla boss.
Xhaka has fallen out with the fans and he has been stripped of the club’s captaincy this season. While Torreira has now played the last two league games for the club.
Torreira has not played enough
“Torreira has not been playing full stop. I’d like to see him in the Arsenal midfield,” he told the Metro. “Whether you play him as a deep-lying midfielder or you play him wide or with someone else sitting deeper or two either side…it doesn’t matter as long as he is in the team.
“He hasn’t played enough for me. I would have thought it would have been very obvious that he has to play. He’s tenacious. The Chelsea game at home, the Liverpool game at home last season, he was playing in that team and Arsenal looked better for it.
“This is why I think the fans went against Emery because Xhaka played no matter what when Torreira had to sit on the bench.
“Ceballos plays one game for Arsenal [against Burnley] and was absolutely brilliant but he’s back on the bench. Maybe it’s Xhaka he needs to take out.”
The thing is this, Arsenal has not won while Xhaka has been out of the team either. It is far more than what Keown claims in my own humble opinion.
The team selections time and again have been very suspect going back to the end of last season. The formations have simply been bewildering confusing both the fans and players.
Some will argue that ostracising Mesut Ozil has not helped. Then there was allowing Aaron Ramsey to leave on a free transfer.
And it is not just been down to the manager either, the players have made monumental errors and been found wanting at crucial moments from Aubameyang right through the team to Leno.
Let’s not forget the board’s role in all this as well. Blaming Emery for everything and trying to pinpoint one thing is a flawed reflection of the reality of the situation.