Unai Emery has called on Granit Xhaka to “stand up” and change the opinion of Arsenal fans after he was chosen by his team-mates to be the club skipper. It is fair to say the decision by Emery to hand Xhaka the armband, after holding a vote among his squad to decide on his new skipper, has been met with total indifference from Gunners’ fans.
Emery had a leadership group of five players last year but three of those – Laurent Koscielny, Petr Cech and Aaron Ramsey – departed over the course of the summer.
The Spaniard revealed that, for this season, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Hector Bellerin, Alexandre Lacazette and Mesut Ozil will be his other captains, in order, should Xhaka not play. “First, he is mature and he has experience and we are living all the time under pressure, under criticism as coaches, as players, as a club,” Emery said of his new captain.
“The most important thing is to stand up in each moment, go ahead and show his quality, with his behaviour, with his commitment and in the dressing room the players voted for him as the first.”
Xhaka, who turned 27 on Friday and skippered the side six times last season, was jeered by sections of the Emirates Stadium as he was substituted in Sunday’s 3-2 win over Aston Villa.But Emery, who defended Xhaka following that incident, believes the high regard in which he is held among his team-mates can be replicated among the fan-base.
Emery has told Xhaka he needs to show leadership on the field and that will change the minds of fans who do not agree with him being skipper, and his first chance to do that will come at Old Trafford on Monday night.
A win at the home of Manchester United would certainly help in getting the fans behind the new skipper.
Emery could potentially have a new-look back four for the trip to Old Trafford, given his side have kept one clean sheet in the Premier League since mid-April.
Rob Holding and Hector Bellerin returned from long-term knee injuries in the midweek Carabao Cup win over Nottingham Forest, while summer signing Kieran Tierney made his debut following a groin complaint, and they could all feature on Monday.Copyright © 2020 Completesports.com All rights reserved. The information contained in Completesports.com may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without the prior written authority of Completesports.com.