Arsenal should be backing our captain – Not sacking him

Don’t Take The Armband Off Xhaka by Dan Smith

Taking the captaincy away from Xhaka would be nothing more than a PR stunt from the club. I would respect them more if they stood by their player instead of doing an action because they feel obliged to be seen to be doing something.

Armband or not it’s not going to change the fact that we are in an embarrassing situation that the midfielder will be booed each time he touches the ball if he plays against Wolves. That’s an embarrassing situation that we shouldn’t let the minority make into a bigger situation then it is.

A bit of perspective is needed, a grown adult swore at a group of adults who were verbally abusing him, when the Switzerland FA are releasing statements you know it’s getting out of hand.

Let’s educate the minority, that going to a football stadium doesn’t give you the right to say and do whatever you want. You cannot be seen to be allowing the fans to run the club.

The fact is that who should be our captain was voted by the dressing room, the majority have asked for the Swiss to lead us. Emery obviously thought it was important to include everyone in that decision so why should the wishes of our manager and players be undermined just to tick a PR box, again Xhaka forfeiting the arm band won’t stop the abuse.

It’s been over 48 hours since the incident and it’s not like the players have been queuing up to take the side of the fans. They recognise what Xhaka and his family have had to tolerate, the same as Mustafi. Reports say that Torreria was in tears over how poisonous the Emirates was on Sunday (which if true leaves a question mark against his mentality), while teammates were quick to go around Xhaka’s house to console due to him being very upset about his treatment.

This isn’t like when Gallas had his strop, with Arsene Weneger realising his youthful squad could relate better to Fabregas leading them. This is a group who picked their captain and will not feel comfortable if the only reason that changes is because of trolls? What message would that send out?

I hear some gooners campaigning for Holding to get the gig. What if he then made a couple of mistakes, should we swear at him, abuse his wife and then provoke him enough where he stands up for himself? Have we become that kind of fanbase?

Bellerin tweeted….

That’s him asking the fans to change their ways, not him condemning his teammate. It’s an embarrassing situation that the Spaniard is another member of our team who has stories about being abused by his own fans, and can be an example to others that it doesn’t always last.

The irony being that we treat our own like, this then wonder why Koscielny has no sentiment when it comes to pulling off a shirt to reveal a Bordeaux one.

If Xhaka genuinely was sorry he would have found time in two days to have said it. The reality is he’s waiting for his employers to tell him what to say and do. They might force him to make an apology which won’t be genuine but taking away the arm band would be counterproductive.

Dan Smith


    1. It’s mistake all around, and none has come out in glory out of this, nor is it an easy problem to solve.
      Just because Xhaka doesn’t play well does not warrant abuse of him and his family in social media, and the club should have stepped in there itself. The lad was already under the cosh, and the third substitution when he played decently made him react by walking slowly; the the sardonic cheers started and he reacted by throwing the captain’s armband and started goading; the cheers turned to loud boos and he cupped his ears and then he mouthed an expletive. Then came the stripping off of his jersey and stomping down the tunnel.
      It just didn’t make good viewing because it was mistakes all around. Fans feel they have the right to freedom of expression, which must then apply to Xhaka also. Since when FoE equated to abuse of the player and family is what must be questioned.
      All we can give this incident is time for it to cool off and apologies must come from all sides. Since Xhaka is our captain, he can take the lead in this.

      1. Firstly, Biggest problem..

        If you use any sort of social media, you leave yourself open to abuse!

        People will always be susceptible to causing harm , vocally or physically. Socail media is another channel for abuse. If you can’t take abuse or take it personally, my policy would be “DON’T USE IT”. Social media is and has been used as a weapon (US Election and Russian propaganda).

        BTW. I do not condone or support the abuse Xhaka and his family have received. But, if you want to protect your family. Close the accounts!!

        Secondly, The mistake was Emery’s for not being “bold” enough to select the captain himself and allowing Xhaka to continue to raise blood levels within the stadium, knowing that Xhaka is not effective in his position. The style and brand of football has not been working for years. We needed a new set up in the midfield over the summer but Emery stuck with Xhaka. I feel sorry for him, I really do. But when the pressure is on you can handle it or you can’t? Obviously, Xhaka broke and told the “paying” supporters (customers) to F**K off. You simply cannot do that. It’s a bad image for such a big club. Emery should take the rap too!!

  1. Thank You Dan Smith,you just pinned on my thoughts about the whole issue, just s little twist many other footballers will be looking at how we treated this issue and it will determine if we get elite footballers in the nearest future, who will want to play for a team where fans abuse and insult people.

  2. It is good to back a Captain provided he shows the interest and desire to play real football. Every player is susceptible to errors, but the attempt in correcting them, improving all the time and showing the right temperament is the correct attitude. Even Messi and Ronaldo would have not reacted like Xhaka did. A player should come out stronger and more positive after fan booing rather than weaker and negative. Emery is equally at fault for this incident. Where is our possession and free flowing football gone? Teams used to fear when Arsenal had the ball. Now teams enjoy playing against us. Why? The simple answer is that Emery has managed to change the very structure and internal genetics of Arsenal FC. Emery and Xhaka should make instant changes in their approach and attitude or else go before Arsenal identity and values are lost. Can anyone imagine the Captain of Liverpool, Man City, Man Utd. or Chelsea behaving like the way Xhaka behaved? This is the difference between a player and a top player, between a team and a top team. Arsenal is a top team and should not go backwards.

    1. Xhaka won’t improve. This is his ceiling that most of us agree. He is not a very talented player.
      To me he is giving the best of his ability but it’s not good enough for a team like Arsenal.
      People are just making up excuses to have a go at him knowing very well that he can never hit those levels.

      The only people to blame here are the squad that chose him to be their Captain and Emery who continuously selects him even if the fans don’t want him in the team.

      There are players that are known to have more natural talent at this club but refuse to work hard or fight for the shirt. But then so called limited players like Xhaka are humiliated for not being good enough even if they are trying their best.

    2. You expect pressures when you play for a team like Arsenal. Our captain has always been below par and in fact shouldn’t be starting as it stands but it doesn’t mean fans should be allowed to bully him. Emery remains our problem with his selections and if he persists then let’s just keep up with the disappointment.

  3. I remain 100% behind Xhaka in this situation.
    This is a stupid situation whrere you have little bullies that are so mouthy and in your face. But the moment they are given some of their own medicine they run to their mommy crying about being treatsd unfairly.

    You were busy provoking a sleep dog but the moment it barked at you you cry “Bad dangerous dog”.

    Grow up.

    1. So what are you saying? Fans should not boo? If by the bullies you refer to social media trolls, shouldn’t Xhaka have abused them on the respective social media platform they have been giving him hell? I have watched that Xhaka substitution tens of times, he started the drama when he decided to take his sweet time walking off the pitch to spite the fans in retaliation to them cheering his substitution. He drew the fans wrath and cannot play victim after the crowd reacted the way it did. All these “bullying” claims are just nonsense to defend his moment of idiocy. That said, I think all the running around had made his blood hot. Tensions were high and he did not think of the repercussions before acting. It was thus a genuine mistake and unlikely he will do it again. My verdict: Forgive him and forget about it.

      1. Yes, the cheering of his substitution was not that loud, only a very small minority participated. Xhaka then made it ten times worse with his response. Even though the cheering of the substitution was not even necessarily directed at him, but at Emery.
        And the fact Emery let the teammates decide who the captain should be is again a typical Emery cowardly decision.

        Also: “The reality is he’s waiting for his employers to tell him what to say and do. They might force him to make an apology.”

        No. Not entirely true. Emery said yesterday (or today morning?) that the club HAS asked Xhaka to apologise to fans, but he hasn’t done anything about it. The only thing he’s done is to change his Instagram cover photo from one wearing an Arsenal shirt to on wearing his national team shirt. So he’s still far from acknowledging any fault of his. As I said in a previous post, Xhaka now needs to be benched for at least 3 weeks so things cool down a bit.

    2. I wonder who infuriated the other first. You have a match you desperately want to win, and there is only a few minutes to the end. Then somebody who hasn’t impressed so much is called for substitution, and instead of walking very fast or running, he just kept walking majestically like he’s the one winning. Tell me what you expected the fans to do? Clap for him? The only legal chastisement at their disposal is to boo to show displeasure.

  4. Xhaka and Emery is the biggest problem of Arsenal and I found it ridiculous that both are captain and coach respectively. Xhaka should be stripped off the captain arm band with immediate effect. Is been coming all these years that Xhaka caused us more point than he won us and nobody will expect the fans to keep condoning poor performance from the coach and captain

  5. Spot on Dan. The same fans calling for his head are the ones crying Judas anytime a van Persie, Sanchez or Koscielny want out. Can’t have it both ways – loyalty is a two-way street.

    1. so we applaud sub standard performances? Like a headless loss to Sheff? Draw to Watford?Loose a 2 goal cushion and limp off the filed when we can go for a win? That is disrespect to the coach and fans!Had he sprint down to the touchline all this drama would have never happened. With such reasoning AFC is lost and doomed. That is the reason the owners, coaches and players have no desire whatsoever to win titles/silverware.Is demanding a performance from a highly paid player too much? Fan pressure is the only way forward. Which fan does not want his team to win and OK with a draw/loss? Maybe a section of AFC fans only.

  6. When players are paid millions they should behave like professionals. Fans will be fans and the players should learn to differentiate between the good and the bad of the fans and react likewise. Swearing at the fans does not make a player great, rather coming out stronger does. Also this attitude of Xhaka has attracted unwanted attention on Arsenal FC. He should realize what he represents before swearing and throwing off his jersey. So those of whom are calling for fans to improve should first introspect what the concerned player is bringing to the Club by such irresponsible and indisciplined behavior.

  7. The club will back him because stripping him off the captaincy will kill morale in the dressing room. I mean, we have snowflakes like Torreira crying in front of the camera and Bellerin issuing statements on social media. That being said, a quick apology would fix everything he did, I don’t think anyone would hold a grudge over a mere “F off”? The Swiss FA seem to have brushed it aside. It’s time we forgave him and moved on.

  8. The Board should take fast and immediate action for damage repair. Whether it is counseling Xhaka or anything else(counseling Emery?) things should be done fast. There is no time to waste. My worry is that Auba and Laca may leave if we don’t make it to the Champions League. They are our best players and scored 50% of our goals. Emery must make changes and fast to his whole approach, player management and game tactics. Or else we risk of Arsenal FC being in the oblivion. Genuine gunner fans are really worried.

  9. Fans are saying he’s a professional, he should be able to handle it.

    He should tolerate his pregnant wife getting abused? He’s a baby daddy, does anyone care what he’s going through?

    Don’t push someone to the wall and expect them to be ‘professional’ or ‘mature’ to keep taking the sh!t you throw at them.

    We are all humans, and we have a breaking point. Anyone expecting an apology from Xhaka should look in the mirror.

    1. I don’t understand. A bunch of trolls abused his wife on social media or wherever now everyone who boos or criticizes Xhaka is lumped together in the same category as the “pregnant wife-harassing bullies”. Xhaka lashed out at irate fans, not bullies! It’s possible the fans in the stadium consisted of both, but there is no way of knowing Xhaka was addressing the bullies and not the fans. Xhaka was out of line.

      1. LOL @ “baby daddy”

        If Xhaka’s ‘breaking point’ is a few dozen fans cheering his substitution, he should find a different profession. The man is a decent player (for a worse team than Arsenal), but I’ve never ever known of a player who’s mentally weak in so many different aspects: rash, lacking concentration, unable to take criticism

  10. You nailed it, Dan. Thanks for those words of wisdom.
    And great comments from great minds too.
    No matter the situation, if we look properly, we always see some positives. Like it or hate it, the captain’s reaction has already made a very serious statement in the mind of people across the globe, fan or not. Tolerance and/or professionalism has elastic limit. Both professionals as well as fans have now been reminded of that inevitable reality. Everyone should wake up to it, because respect is reciprocal.
    If the captain played and we worn, the captain would have been great as he has often been for his national team. If we lost, the captain must be useless player.
    If Ozil played and we are successful, then he is pass/assist king of the world. If Ozil played but we lost, he is to be thrown into the dust bin.
    We must look inward.
    Someone mentioned behaviour of captains in other clubs in the Premiership, but I will advise that we should not go into that aspect at all.
    Summarily, our captain is choice of the club and should be guided to to continue leading better.

  11. Xhaka is a player our fanbase don’t really like because he isn’t arsenal level and plays every match as he is an emery favorite. Add to that the numerous times he has cost us pts with his stupid decisions and that he is captain leads to more anger from the fans.

    Fans who attend always make their opinions heard whether it’s cheering a goal or save or tackle. We give ovations to player and it is absolutely in our right to boo a player.

    Xhaka invited the abuse by taking his sweet freaking time leaving the pitch to spite the fans, what the hell was he expecting? This was fans who were already frustrated by our poor display, the score. You don’t trigger frustrated and angry fans because of some trolls.

  12. Pity Xhaka already,wrong move but let’s forgive him and move on but still feels torriera should start ahead of him

  13. Come on Dan, the nation was asked to vote to leave the EU. We did, we voted leave and look where that got us!?

    Sometimes, you just have to make that decision as a coach. Do you think all the Man U team would have voted for Roy Keane as captain knowing what a drill sergeant he could be? I’ve heard he was a menace and arrogant ass in the dressing room but, he made the team work hard and winners! Tony Adam’s was the same in a way. He was tough but fair and Arsenal had one of the lowest “goals conceded” ratio every season.

    I would never judge Xhaka as a person and I know the team like his personality and him as a person. Maybe that is the problem? He is not tough or vocal enough?

    His biggest problem is that he is just not suited to Arsenal’s style of play (Direct and attacking with pace). But the bigger problem is Emery. He’s just feeling around in the dark and using players to mask the problem. Himself.

  14. I’m sorry a lot of players are weak minded.

    Torreira showed he’s a cry baby.

    Its pathetic, Real Madrid criticizes Bale, do you see him crying or running off the pitch like a 3 year old (Xhaka).


  15. I think apologies from the fans and the player will solve the problem.But Xhaka first comes out and say sorry then the fans follow.

  16. @ Dan

    What do you mean if Torreira was upset by what happened then maybe we should question his mentality?

    The majority of fans wanted Xhaka gone before this whole debacle due to his consistently poor performances. As a captain you lead by example, and his reaction was immature and far from exemplary. You don’t scream back at your own fans. He was the captain of a team that had given away a 2-0 lead to Palace. What was he doing about it?

    He didn’t deserve the armband even before this happened. It should be taken away. If as the captain you can’t take it when it gets tough then why are you the captain?

    You refer to the players all voting for him to be captain but we don’t know the full story there do we? Was it everyone? A slim majority? Was he favoured because he was already one of the 5? Did Emery announcing he gave players the choice work as a PR stunt in Arsenal’s favour?

    Xhaka should’ve been sold a long time ago. Now is the time.

  17. . Even when Ronaldo was in realmadrid he was booed but never reacted that way.. What he did was pick himselfup .. Improved his performance thereby silencing the fans… Ibrahimovich was booed at inter Milan.. And these are top class players.. All I see in this case is an average player with a weak mentality..

  18. Quite honestly we’re all big boys and girls here. I couldn’t give a s**t if Xhaka swore at the fans in retaliation – They swore at him – he swore back… who cares, keep your non-apology Granit because the real issue here is that you are NOT good enough to be in the team let alone the captain! And if Emery can’t see that in his position with his massive wages – then the fans need to make their voices heard. We are AFC, without us there is nothing. And yes it’s easy being a keyboard-warrior but when the majority are saying and seeing the same thing then the people at the club need to take notice.
    Fact of the matter is that Emery and Xhaka need to go. Neither are Arsenal quality and if we all keep our mouths shut like the author of this article suggests then our club will only go backwards.

    Talking of backwards – please not Mourinho! Anybody but Mourinho.

  19. U made so much sense, emery has turned an issue into a real problem now. I could care less about what the players think now because they’re the one who voted for Xhaka to be the captain and his performances just haven’t warranted him being put in that position I’m sorry. The players are on the field so they’re just not gonna see his poor performances and btw he is getting outplayed by academy prospects and a nineteen year old kid who played in France 2nd division so he doesn’t need to send and apology, he needs to get home kiss his wife and kids pack his boots and go to the grounds, watch previous games because I can set up a highlight session of him alone making dumb mistakes and learn the position that he’s actually playing.

    I’m just gonna say it, not emery out but he needs to do the same, he’s just not cutting it rite now and I think as a manager your job is to put the team in the best position to be successful not even win but to leave a game knowing that the game plan was on point but either the other team was just exceptional or a fluke goal but not after every match ppl are gonna questioning your tactics, playing players out of position and that nonsense.

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