Should Arsenal strip Granit Xhaka of the captaincy after x-rated outburst? – Big Debate
Arsenal‘s Granit Xhaka could not hide his frustrations as he was substituted off to a chorus of boos on Sunday afternoon.
The Emirates crowd let loose on Xhaka, seemingly because he trudged off the pitch rather than sprinting off while the Gunners were drawing 2-2 with Crystal Palace.
The Swiss international prompted to goad the home fans, gesturing them to increase the volume with his arms, then cupping his hand to his ear before appearing to tell them to “f*** off” and then removing his shirt before walking straight down the tunnel.
But should Xhaka face the embarrassment of having his armband removed for the incident? Or should the skipper be excused? The Express Sport team have their say on the drama.
Jim Holden – Yes
You can’t remain as a club captain of a major team when the fans have turned against you so obviously. It would be a recipe for damaging discord.
Players always have to earn the trust and respect of supporters. Even if players believe hostility from the fans is unfair, it is folly to respond as Granit Xhaka did.
The problem for Arsenal is a lack of alternative candidates. Xhaka seemed to become captain by default.
The next choice would also be something of a gamble. I would follow the mood of the season, trust in young English players, and think about Rob Holding as skipper.
Matthew Dunn – Yes
It was a despicable way for Arsenal supporters to treat one of their own players.
They expect Granit Xhaka to lead the team with passion and energy and then, when he shows those qualities in an entirely understandable reaction to some hurtful abuse, he is pilloried even further.
Xhaka’s exasperation is that he is getting this sort of treatment despite giving his utmost for the Arsenal cause.
The fact that it is not good enough is not his fault. It is the fault of a club that recruited him initially and a manager who so foolishly gave him the burden of the armband.
A cast iron water-wing could not have sunk him faster, so far is he out of his depth leading a club with aspirations of Champions League football and more.
Granit Xhaka was named club captain in late September
James Benson – Yes
Some players with limited skill sets become captains due to their never-say-die attitude and ability to raise the games of those around them.
They drive their teams on, pushing themselves to their limits as they help their more illustrious co-stars sparkle.
Granit Xhaka, though, isn’t one of those captains. And he should never have been given the Arsenal armband in the first place.
Sunday’s histrionics were farcical and Unai Emery must use this as an opportunity to make up for the mistake of doling out the captaincy to Xhaka in the first place.
Arsenal have long-needed a captain in the Patrick Vieira or Tony Adams mould. While he’s a bit on the young side, Matteo Guendouzi may be up to task.
The Frechman has never seemed overawed by the intensity of the Premier League and often tries to take games by the scruff of the neck to carry his team on.
Charlie Malam – Yes
The fans shouldn’t have booed Xhaka and Xhaka shouldn’t have reacted in the manner that he did.
I sympathise with him, I’d have probably reacted the same way. A lot of people would have. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to excuse his actions when he’s the captain, as difficult it must be to block out the jeers from your own fans.
He was disliked already, now his critics have even more ammunition. It doesn’t look as though Xhaka is capable of repairing the relationship, which is a shame as he evidently cares and puts the work in – he just isn’t quite up to it. At least not in this team, as its chief holding midfielder (while Unai Emery persists with using Lucas Torreira higher up the pitch).
So yes, he should have the captaincy taken away from him. Simply so the issue does not become one that hangs over Arsenal for the foreseeable future and creates a negative atmosphere at the Emirates, which is the last thing they need if they want to avoid missing out on a top-four finish again.
Granit Xhaka could not hide his anger at being booed
Jack Otway – No
I wouldn’t strip Granit Xhaka because of one bad day. I’d strip him of the armand if I realised it was a mistake to give it to him in the first place, however.
He was wrong to swear at fans but, equally, the Switzerland international is human. If you’re heckled or picked on, you have a right to hit back. He should have done it in a better way but that isn’t his style.
Fine him if you want but it’s not likely to burn a hole in his pocket.
I think the best thing for him to do is say sorry and then discover the form that prompted Arsene Wenger into paying £35million to sign him.
Xhaka will be hurting and, it seems, is hurting. Everyone needs to come together to help dig Arsenal out of this hole they’ve suddenly found themselves in.
Lewis Winter – Yes
Granit Xhaka should have been stripped of the captaincy as quick as he tore the famous red and white shirt off his back on Sunday.
In truth, the Switzerland international should never have been given the armband on a full-term basis from Unai Emery.
Emery allowed the players to pick the captain and that shows weak management – a captain should not necessarily be liked by his team-mates, but respected.
Xhaka has failed to show in his three-and-a-half years at Arsenal that he has what it takes to be that midfield man the Gunners have been craving for over a decade.
Hector Bellerin must make his first Premier League appearance since his injury against Wolves on Saturday and should lead the team out at the Emirates.
Granit Xhaka walked straight down the tunnel after coming off
Rhys Daly – Yes
Granit Xhaka’s time as Arsenal captain looks to have reached its conclusion after just a matter of weeks.
After Laurent Koscielny’s shock exit there was no obvious contender to take over in the role, but Xhaka seems to have taken his own name out of the mix by appearing to swear at home supporters.
Unai Emery is in no position to ask fans to reconsider their view as he struggles to keep them off his back, and my pick for his replacement is Hector Bellerin.
The Spaniard is loved by the Emirates faithful and is set to be a regular once again after coming back from injury.
Adam Powers – No
If a player is giving their all, they should not be booed by their own fans. I do genuinely believe Granit Xhaka gives his all, he’s just completely inept defensively.
So to have your own fans constantly chipping away at you, to have ex-Arsenal players coming out in the media and slagging you off… That’s going to have an effect on you. I can absolutely understand why he lost his rag, even though I’m sure he will regret it because of the fallout it has caused.
But did Xhaka appoint himself captain? No. The players voted and Unai Emery decided. The buck falls with Emery for making such a naive decision. Stripping Xhaka of the captaincy is not the solution to this situation.
Xhaka’s future as captain is up in the air
Jamie Anderson – Yes
Granit Xhaka should be stripped of the Arsenal captaincy – but not because of yesterday’s fiasco at the Emirates Stadium.
The inconsistent Switzerland international was never the right candidate for the role – nor was Unai Emery’s decision to appoint five captains in a dressing room the right one.
And as weird as it sounds, Sunday’s disrespectful response to a stadium of frustrated supporters could actually be a blessing in disguise.
The Spanish tactician can make amends by appointing Hector Bellerin as the sole captain of Arsenal Football Club.
The 24-year-old knows Arsenal inside out having been at the club since 2013. He has a good understanding of supporters and their expectations. He was the first Gunner to break the silence with a unifying message.