John Hartson accuses Granit Xhaka of hiding his injury in Eintracht Frankfurt loss.
Arsenal’s 2-1 loss at home to Eintracht Frankfurt was the final performance that forced the club’s board to fire Unai Emery.
That was the seventh time they had failed to win in consecutive games and the board had simply had enough.
However, the result may have been different if Granit Xhaka had been sincere with the injury he suffered in the first half, according to Hartson.
Xhaka had needed treatment in the first half of the game and Hartson claimed that he would have told the manager of his discomfort and also asked to be substituted at half time.
‘I thought perhaps Xhaka should’ve gone off at half-time. He didn’t look really right,’ Hartson said after the game. ‘I can understand why he stayed on, I think he wanted to show that bit of heart, that determination.
‘I do give him credit for that, but this is when a manager has to really know, is a player fit or not? ‘I think the medial ligament there really opens up, and the player knows. After that he limped around. He didn’t want to go off.
‘It’s not really intelligent for the team. I don’t want to blame him for this, but I was really surprised to see him come out for the second half.
‘I’ve had this injury myself, it’s really tricky. It’s hard to question it. Maybe Emery wasn’t really sure what he was looking at. ‘But [for Frankfurt’s second] goal, he just can’t move. Maybe that’s his mobility, but I think there’s an injury there with the player. ‘I don’t think he was completely honest. He stayed on the pitch and, in the end, it became a disaster for the manager, because how many players are really fit here?’
That was Xhaka’s first game in an Arsenal shirt since he was booed off by the club’s fans in their game against Crystal Palace.
For me, this was not about Xhaka being selfish, it was about him proving to the fans that he was committed. Yet, he gets criticised anyway, though not by the fans. As usual, it is the pundits first out the blocks having a go.