Xhaka Says He Is Ready To Battle For Arsenal Place

Arsenal’s French midfielder Matteo Guendouzi (L), Arsenal’s Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka (C)/ AFP

 

Granit Xhaka may have been stripped of the Arsenal captaincy due to his public run-in with the club’s fans but he says he will be staying and fighting for his place in the team.

The volatile 27-year-old Swiss international midfielder has not played since he mouthed an obscenity at a section of Gunners fans jeering him when he was substituted in the Premier League match with Crystal Palace a fortnight ago.

However, despite manager Unai Emery deciding he could not carry on as skipper — a role he was given after a secret ballot of the players — he told Swiss newspaper Blick he would not be leaving.

Xhaka has had a fractious relationship with Arsenal supporters since his arrival from Bundesliga outfit Borussia Moenchengladbach in 2016, costing the Premier League side a fee reported to be £38 million ($49 million).

“You can be sure that I’ll keep fighting and putting myself out there in every training session,” Xhaka said.

“I feel last week has been dealt with and I’m ready.

“My time at Arsenal has been very positive for a long time.

“After a difficult start, I played a lot and overall I’ve had a great time at Arsenal.

“My family and I also feel very well in the city of London.”

Xhaka, who has been linked with a  move to struggling Newcastle in the January transfer window, said the boos and jeers has not altered his views of the city or the club.

“I’ll continue to stay positive,” he said. “(To) give my all to an even greater extent and prove that I am an important part of this great team.”

The 2-0 defeat by Leicester on Saturday left Arsenal with just one win in six Premier League games and eight points adrift of fourth-placed Manchester City.

Xhaka and many of his teammates are now on a fortnight international break. Their next league game will be against second-from-bottom Southampton on November 23.

Xhaka does concede the abuse hurt — he claimed his emotions were running high because his daughter had received online abuse — but said it was counter-productive for the whole team’s morale.

“Insulting and swearing at your own captain will cause upset and a bad atmosphere for the team you are actually supposed to be supporting.

“That makes no sense to me and weakens the team’s spirit.”

He does not spare the online abusers either.

“What has changed through social media are phenomena such as ‘sxxx storms’ that can over-run you from one minute to the next,” he said.

“Also new is the cloak of anonymity you can use to attack players without fear of consequences.

“What happened here is abnormal and excessive and there can be no justification for it.”

AFP

Xhaka Stripped Of Arsenal Captaincy

A file photo of Granit Xhaka.

 

Arsenal manager Unai Emery confirmed on Tuesday that Granit Xhaka has been stripped of the club captaincy after an emotional outburst towards supporters.

The Swiss international swore and threw the captain’s armband to the floor after being booed as he was substituted against Crystal Palace 10 days ago.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who led Arsenal for Saturday’s 1-1 draw at home to Wolves, will take over as captain.

Xhaka was not included in the squad for the Wolves match or Wednesday’s visit to Vitoria Guimaraes in the Europa League.

“I was speaking with him this morning and also I decided he’s not one of the captains in our group and I decided that and I told him this morning,” Emery said. “He accepted my decision.

“We have now Aubameyang, Hector (Bellerin), (Alexandre) Lacazette and (Mesut) Ozil – they are the four captains, and first is now Aubameyang.”

“I needed to take one decision, and now it is closed,” Emery added.

Xhaka, 27, blamed death threats to his family for his furious response, saying he had reached “boiling point”.

“My feeling of not being understood by fans, and repeated abusive comments at matches and in social media over the last weeks and months have hurt me deeply,” he wrote on Instagram.

“People have said things like ‘We will break your legs’, ‘Kill your wife’ and ‘Wish that your daughter gets cancer’.

“That has stirred me up and I reached boiling point when I felt the rejection in the stadium.”

Xhaka had only been confirmed as captain by Emery in September after the Spaniard took a dressing room vote to decide on the skipper after the departures of Laurent Koscielny and Petr Cech.

Arsenal’s Xhaka To Miss Wolves Clash

A file photo of Granit Xhaka. AFP photo.

 

 

Unai Emery has confirmed Granit Xhaka will miss Arsenal’s clash with Wolves on Saturday 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 draw against Crystal Palace.

The 27-year-old cupped his ears, waved his arms angrily and ripped off his shirt before storming down the tunnel.

Xhaka has faced calls to be stripped of the Arsenal captaincy and he was left out for Wednesday’s League Cup defeat at Liverpool after Gunners boss Emery admitted his reaction was wrong.

READ ALSO: Bale Returns To Real Squad, To Miss Betis Clash

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 Stadium this weekend, it is possible Xhaka would have endured more abuse after the statement offered only a faint apology for his actions.

Emery has again decided it is better to take Xhaka out of the firing line to stop the controversy distracting his players in an important Premier League fixture.

“He said sorry, he gave the apologies to the supporters, to everybody and now the focus is for tomorrow’s match,” Emery told reporters on Friday.

“It is not in my mind that he is going 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.”

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 at the Emirates 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.

AFP

Arsenal To Offer Xhaka Counselling After Fan Feud – Reports

 

Arsenal will offer counselling to Granit Xhaka after the Gunners captain found himself in trouble for swearing at his own fans, according to reports in the British press.

Xhaka cupped his ears and gesticulated to towards Arsenal fans who booed him when he was substituted during Sunday’s 2-2 draw against Crystal Palace at the Emirates Stadium.

The 27-year-old appeared to shout “f**k off” at the crowd as he stormed towards the tunnel and pulled off his shirt.

Arsenal manager Unai Emery admitted Xhaka was wrong to react that way and refused to confirm if he would remain skipper

Xhaka has held three meetings with Emery since the incident but the club are putting the player’s welfare ahead of any quick decision over his future.

Reports in the British media on Tuesday said counselling will be offered should Xhaka decide on such a course of action, with Emery describing the midfielder’s mood as “upset, devastated and very sad”.

It is also believed the outburst was a reaction to cumulative issues which have built up over time, including social media posts targeting Xhaka and his family.

His wife Leonita set her own Instagram profile to private after receiving abusive messages aimed at her husband, while Xhaka himself raised a few eyebrows by changing his profile picture on the platform from one where he is sporting the Arsenal armband to an image of him captaining Switzerland.

It is understood Xhaka has been made aware by the club of the benefits of offering an apology, but he is so far not in the right frame of mind to do so and is keen for any subsequent acknowledgement of wrongdoing to be genuine.

“At the moment, I am not speaking and I don’t want to speak about that,” Emery replied when asked if Xhaka could lose the captaincy over the issue.

“Now he is upset, devastated and sad. It is not only yesterday and today. He is feeling the supporters don’t like him.

“His commitment with the club is a great commitment every time. He wants to help.

“His behaviour was perfect in training, with the group and with the club. He knows he was wrong.

“He was wrong and he feels it inside very deeply. But that is normal as a human.”

Xhaka will not travel with Arsenal for Wednesday’s League Cup tie at Liverpool.

Arsenal To Offer Xhaka Counselling After Fan Feud

Granit Xhaka, Arsenal

Arsenal will offer counselling to Granit Xhaka after the Gunners captain found himself in trouble for swearing at his own fans, according to reports in the British press.

Xhaka cupped his ears and gesticulated to towards Arsenal fans who booed him when he was substituted during Sunday’s 2-2 draw against Crystal Palace at the Emirates Stadium.

The 27-year-old appeared to shout “f**k off” at the crowd as he stormed towards the tunnel and pulled off his shirt.

Arsenal manager Unai Emery admitted Xhaka was wrong to react that way and refused to confirm if he would remain, skipper.

Xhaka has held three meetings with Emery since the incident but the club are putting the player’s welfare ahead of any quick decision over his future.

Reports in the British media on Tuesday said counselling will be offered should Xhaka decide on such a course of action, with Emery describing the midfielder’s mood as “upset, devastated and very sad”.

It is also believed the outburst was a reaction to cumulative issues which have built up over time, including social media posts targeting Xhaka and his family.

His wife Leonita set her own Instagram profile to private after receiving abusive messages aimed at her husband, while Xhaka himself raised a few eyebrows by changing his profile picture on the platform from one where he is sporting the Arsenal armband to an image of him captaining Switzerland.

It is understood Xhaka has been made aware by the club of the benefits of offering an apology, but he is so far not in the right frame of mind to do so and is keen for any subsequent acknowledgement of wrongdoing to be genuine.

“At the moment, I am not speaking and I don’t want to speak about that,” Emery replied when asked if Xhaka could lose the captaincy over the issue.

“Now he is upset, devastated and sad. It is not only yesterday and today. He is feeling the supporters don’t like him.

“His commitment with the club is a great commitment every time. He wants to help.

“His behaviour was perfect in training, with the group and with the club. He knows he was wrong.

“He was wrong and he feels it inside very deeply. But that is normal as a human.”

Xhaka will not travel with Arsenal for Wednesday’s League Cup tie at Liverpool.

AFP

Emery Asks ‘Devastated’ Xhaka To Apologise

Granit Xhaka, Arsenal

 

Granit Xhaka has been left “devastated” by the confrontation with Arsenal supporters on Sunday but still should apologise said Gunners manager Unai Emery on Tuesday.

Emery, though, would not be drawn on whether the 27-year-old Swiss international midfielder will remain the captain following his tantrum on being substituted in the 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace.

Xhaka — who was voted in as captain by secret ballot of his team-mates in the close season — has enjoyed a fractious relationship with the Arsenal supporters since he joined in 2016.

It reached its nadir on Sunday when they booed him as he walked off with him cupping his hand to his ear and then apparently mouthing ‘Fxxx off’ in their direction before storming down the tunnel.

“Yes (he should apologise),” said Emery, speaking on the eve of the Gunners fourth round League Cup clash with Liverpool.

“We make mistakes, we need to apologise and we suggested for him to do that.

“Really, he knows he was wrong and he feels inside very deep.

“Now we are looking, seeing he is devastated and the first thing is to recover him.

“We need our family, friends and supporters to support us, love us.

“He is not feeling that with the supporters.

“But we are speaking with him ‘first, be calm. Be close to your family and be close to us because we are your family’.”

Emery said Xhaka has the qualities required of a captain but refused to respond as to whether he remained in his post.

“At the moment I am not speaking and I don’t want to think about that,” the Spaniard said.

“It is not easy for him and for the team. We spoke yesterday, and Sunday night also, and this morning.

“He has the values, the respect in the dressing room, experience.

“He is captain of his national team and has the condition to be the captain.

“I decided that. The players respect that, and he was wrong on Sunday and it was not the response of a captain.”

Bellerin Calls For Arsenal Unity After Xhaka Tantrum

Arsenal Loses Bellerin Ahead of Man-U Derby

 

Hector Bellerin has called for everyone at Arsenal to come together following club captain Granit Xhaka’s tantrum on being substituted on Sunday during the 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace.

Bellerin, who is the Gunners third captain after Xhaka and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, is sidelined through injury but he took to Twitter to urge understanding and the team to unite.

Manger Unai Emery has said he will talk to Xhaka before he decides whether to strip the Swiss international midfielder of the captaincy.

The 27-year-old — who was made captain in the close season following a secret ballot of the players — exploded with fury when he was replaced in the second half of the Palace game.

He trudged slowly to the touchline while petulantly gesticulating to the fans who had cheered his substitution and were angrily urging him to get off the pitch quicker.

Xhaka’s meltdown climaxed when he ripped off his shirt, appeared to shout f**k off at supporters and stormed past Emery straight down the tunnel to more derision from the stands.

“We are all humans, we all have emotions, and sometimes it’s not easy dealing with them,” tweeted Bellerin.

“It’s time to lift each other up, not to push each other away. We only win when we are together.”

Others have been less forgiving such as Arsenal legend Ian Wright especially with the club struggling for form with only two wins in their last eight Premier League matches.

“He’s the captain,” he told the BBC.

“He’s got the responsibility of being able to take that on board because he’s been voted in. You can’t go like that.

“The amount of stick someone like Mesut Ozil has got I could understand if (he) throws his shirt down.

“He’s the captain. The manager has got faith in him. He should be apologising. He should have apologised already.

“That’s the guy they’ve chosen as captain and that’s not captain’s behaviour.

“Arsenal fans have shown a lot of patience with him and the performances he has put in. He owes them a lot more than that.”

AFP

EPL: New Captain Xhaka To Repay Emery’s Faith In United Clash

Aston Villa’s Brazilian striker Wesley (L) vies with Arsenal’s Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka (R) during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Aston Villa at the Emirates Stadium in London on September 22, 2019. Tolga AKMEN / AFP

 

Granit Xhaka will lead Arsenal into Monday’s Premier League clash at Manchester United as the club’s new captain, but the Swiss midfielder has to win over plenty of doubters that he is fit to wear the Gunners’ armband.

Xhaka’s discipline and defensive awareness have repeatedly been questioned since joining the club from Borussia Monchengladbach in 2016, but both Arsene Wenger and current Arsenal boss Unai Emery have consistently put their faith in the 27-year-old.

That trust is not replicated by the club’s fans. On one of the few occasions he was replaced by Emery with the Gunners trailing 2-1 to Aston Villa last weekend, Xhaka was booed as he trudged off the field.

Despite being down to 10 men, Arsenal turned the game around with the energetic duo of Matteo Guendouzi and Lucas Torreira buzzing around the midfield.

That is a combination many supporters would like to see on a more regular basis, but Xhaka’s elevated status in the dressing room means he will remain a fixture for some time to come.

Emery sought votes from his squad before naming a five-man leadership group on Friday, of which Xhaka came top, but the Spanish manager is aware of the doubters questioning his decision.

“In the dressing room the players voted him as the first (in the) leadership (group),” said Emery on Friday.

“I spoke with him, we want to change that opinion outside. That respect he has inside is very, very important.

“Each match is for him, for me, for us, is a very good opportunity to show our capacity.

“Really I trust and believe in him. He is a good man. A good professional. A good player.”

Emery’s trust in Xhaka could easily backfire.

Arsenal have a break clause in the contract they handed the former Sevilla manager in 2018 that could see him released at the end of the season if he fails to deliver Champions League football to the Emirates for the first time in four years.

“It is a brave decision from the manager,” said former Arsenal defender Martin Keown, who described Xhaka’s performance against Tottenham earlier in the season as being “like a fire engine that turns up and discovers the house has already burned down.”

A stereotypical late lunge conceded a penalty that day in the north London derby as Arsenal had to battle back from 2-0 down to salvage a point.

Xhaka also described his side as “scared” when they threw away a 2-0 lead at Watford to draw 2-2 earlier this month.

Monday’s visit to an injury-ravaged United offers Arsenal a great chance for their first league victory at Old Trafford since 2006.

Do so and they will also open up a six-point lead over one of their rivals to break into the top tour.

For Emery to show to his superiors that he is making progress as Wenger’s long-awaited successor, he needs Xhaka to start to inspire his side to rise to the occasion.

AFP

Late Show: 10-Man Arsenal Beat Burnley To Go 2nd

Late Show: 10-Man Arsenal Beat Burnley To Go 2ndAlexis Sanchez converted a last minute penalty in a dramatic finale to Arsenal’s Premier League game against Burnley at the Emirates on Sunday to earn them a 2-1 victory.

Alexis Sanchez earned the last-gasp penalty for Arsenal in the match that produced two converted penalties in stoppage-time.

After Burnley resisted Arsenal’s pressure in the first half, Skhodran Mustafi headed in from Mesut Ozil’s corner with 59 minutes gone.

The game looked set to be another easy win for Arsene Wenger’s men but Granit Xhaka was shown a red card for a lunge on Burnley’s Steven Defour.

Three minutes into added time, Burnley’s Andre Gray converted a penalty awarded after Francis Coquelin tripped Ashley Barnes.

The game became tense with Arsenal believing in the unthinkable and their pressure paid off following Ben Mee’s foul on Laurent Koscielny.

Sanchez deftly chipped the spot-kick down the middle of the goal – the final blow in the eighth minute of stoppage time.

The victory takes the Gunners to second place on the EPL table, taking full advantage of Liverpool’s home loss to Swansea on Saturday.

2016 Has Been Very Positive, Happy Xhaka Says

Granit Xhaka, ArsenalArsenal midfielder, Granit Xhaka, believes he has been able to achieve a great deal in the ‘positive 2016’.

The Swiss international made the remark as he reeled out his achievements duirng the year in an interview with Arsenal Player on Thursday.

The 24-year-old qualified for the Champions League with Borussia Monchengladbach, featured at Euro 2016 and then left Germany for the Premier League.

“Half a year in Germany, half a year in England… so I was with Monchengladbach from January through to June, where we qualified for the Champions League, which made for a very interesting season.

“Then the transfer here to Arsenal, which I’m very proud of and made me very happy. I’m glad to have been able to make that step and I think the second half of the year has gone pretty positively.

“There have been a lot of nice highlights. The national team are doing great in qualifying for the World Cup so far, we’re in first [position in the group].

“We achieved what we wanted to with Gladbach – the Champions League qualification – and I was able to make the next big step in my career to Arsenal. So it’s all been very positive,” said an elated Xhaka.

Guardiola Says Manchester City Win Against Barcelona Is Vital

Pep Guardiola, Manchester City, Barcelona
Pep Guardiola, Manchester City, Barcelona

Pep Guardiola has described Manchester City’s 3-1 win over Barcelona as momentous, considering he has only been working at the club for four months.

Guardiola, who believes it is just a beginning for City, however, says it shows his team is on the right track.

It was a dream come true for the coach as two goals from Ilkay Gundogan and Kevin De Bruyne’s fine free-kick handed the hosts a famous win.

Five-time Ballon d’Or winner, Lionel Messi had open the scoring in the 21st minute with the aim to replicate the Spanish side’s 4-0 win at Camp Nou.

However, the story changed down the line, as the match ended 3-1 on Tuesday at the Etihad Stadium.

This means Manchester City have one foot in the UEFA Champions League knockout stages.

Ozil Again Secures Arsenal’s Victory Against Razgrad

Arsenal, Ludogorets Razgrad, Mesut Ozil, Manchester United, BarcelonaArsenal have yet again beaten Ludogorets Razgrad 3-2 in a UEFA Champions League return match on Tuesday night.

Although the Gunners had a poor beginning, they later displayed a brilliant performance at the Ludogorets Arena in Bulgaria.

Goals from Jonathan Cafu and Claudiu Keseru had set Razgrad on the spot before Granit Xhaka gave the English visitors a reason not to lose their winning hope.

Olivier Giroud also made good use of Aaron Ramsey’s assist to level the score for Arsenal in the 42nd minute.

After a strong battle for the winner, Mohamed Elneny made a superb pass which led to Mesut Ozil’s 88th minute goal.

In an earlier visit to the Emirates Stadium, Arsenal humbled the Bulgarian side 6 – 0.

Ozil netted a hat-trick while Alexis Sanchez, Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scored a goal apiece.

Dream Come True

Meanwhile, it was a dream come true for Coach Pep Guardiola as Manchester United thrashed Barcelona 3-1 at the Etihad Stadium.

Pep Guardiola: Champions League: Guardiola Wants New Mindset Against Barcelona
Pep Guardiola

Football legend, Lionel Messi had open the scoring in the 21st minute with the aim to replicate the Spanish side’s 4-0 win at Camp Nou.

However, the story changed down the line, as Ilkay Guendogan equalised for City.

The first half subsequently ended 1-1.

Kevin de Bruyne netted a brilliant goal few minutes after the second half began before Guendogan scored his second goal.