Monday, June 17, 2024

Emery confirms Arsenal’s five captains

After it was revealed earlier today that Granit Xhaka was to be named Arsenal’s official captain, Unai Emery has confirmed the other members of his captaincy group.

The Swiss international will be joined in the Exclusive Armband Club by Mesut Ozil, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Hector Bellerin.

The appointment of Xhaka comes less than a week after he was jeered off the pitch during the 3-2 win over Aston Villa, and the manager says that the 27-year-old – who celebrates his birthday today – will have to change the minds of people who are questioning the decision.

“He is mature and he has experience and we are all living all the time under pressure, under criticism as coaches, as players, as a club,” Emery said of the selection.

“The most important thing is to stand up in each moment, go ahead and [for him] to show his quality, with his behaviour, with his commitment and in the dressing room the players voted for him as the first.

“After, I spoke with him and we want to change that opinion outside because that respect that he has inside the dressing room is very, very important. And also keep moving ahead, playing, improving, and with behaviour, and his commitment. Each match for him, for me, for everybody, is a very good opportunity to show our capacity.

“I trust and believe in him and he is a good man, a good professional and a good player. Sometimes he has made a mistake, yes, but the most important thing is to analyse, to learn and to correct that in the future.

“His challenge, and our challenge, is to change that opinion and above all, show personality and improve in each match and give us his help every time. The first match is on Monday at Manchester United.”

Xhaka’s first test as the official captain is a stern one, with a trip to Old Trafford on Monday night.

The Gunners haven’t won there since 2006, so if he can lead the team to victory and play well, it’ll go some way to rebuilding his relationship with the fans which is somewhat rocky at the moment.

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He will never change that is the issue here, he will always do. Xhaka just like Mustafi will do a Mustafi ?

Patient Gooner

Don’t see what Mustafi’s got to do with this. Hasn’t he had enough bashing? Sometimes I really feel sorry for him.

Runcorn Gooner

Yes. 2 clean sheets in last games he played and almost a blinding goal on Tuesday.

Ozil in Captain group. Lip Service.


Agreed. Fickleness leading to scapegoating. Mustafi can actually be a damned good defender. I don’t know if he can turn things around at the Arse, but he needs to reset and figure out those mistakes.

As for the captaincy…I would prefer a captain who leads by example (and Xhaka is not that). I wonder, if there were a Tony Adams type player in the squad, if he would have won this popularity contest?

Reality check

Personally, I wanted Laca but language seems to be the barrier there. Xhaka, if somehow stops commiting stupid errors, would be an ideal captain. Serious, mature guy with some bottle, always behind his team mates when required, likes and takes responsibility. I hope the permanent captaincy and the show of trust gives his game a boost.


He’s what we have. So lets get behind him.


Most of the rants here are directed towards players and managers but this one is for the fans for a change. Thank God most of the geniuses here are limited to their electronic devices and are nowhere near the stadium, which is already full of them. Haters have to pick on someone, justified or not, it is what they do, it is what keeps them going. And Arsenal fans are of a special kind, Ramsey, after having his leg broken while playing for the club, was rewarded with boos by the pathetic home support. Fans don’t care what you are… Read more »

Martinellis belly

I completely disagree. Its the passion the fans have that has them spending hours of their precious waking lives obsessing over this football club. The fact that they’re getting worked up shows exactly how much they care and want this club to succeed. And yes I wish we had a louder stadium but modern big business has seen to that. The middle class are the ones who can afford to go and screaming their heads off just isnt as much a part of that culture. I think you have a very selective memory to suit your agenda. Ramsey was loved… Read more »


For too many the old “I only beat my wife and kids because I care” seems a justifiable explanation.

It’s fucked up and abusive in reality.

Now surely some git will trot out something about how much they’re paid, because somehow paying someone justifies abusing them..


It shouldn’t depend what’s going on on the pitch..isn’t that the point of being a supporter…you’re either behind your team or you’re not. The “Only sing when you’re winning” chant is based on reality right?


Good intentions doesn’t mean shit. Everyone is the hero in their story and will always tell themseleves they are doing the right thing. Most people in their minds have good intentions. That doesn’t mean their actions are right. It’s fine to criticize the players on their performances. It’s not right to launch ad hominem attack on players when they don’t perform. I see that a lot with Mustafi, Xhaka and especially Wenger in his latter years. Also, we have one of the worst home support among the top clubs of Europe and that is a fact. This is something many… Read more »


I take my hat off to you…don’t ever change.


I’m all for whatever that’ll get us playing attacking football again. Doesn’t matter who’s captain, doesn’t matter who’s picking the cones.


To be fair we are trying to play attacking football.
We scored 5+3+3 goals in the last 3 games with youngsters involved.
The problem continues to be the lack of balance, susceptibility to counters and allowing shots & and individual errors.
Generally we are more adventurous than last season, but still not where we want to be.


Take out the Carabao Cup and Europa League matches, and our performances have been rather poor. We are a long way from anything resembling “control” in PL matches this season either in attack or in defence. Emery has some serious work to do — may good signs show themselves to all on Monday!

Bob's Mexican Cousin

Emery should be picking the cones, not the lineup.


Well that’s that then for now. Lets try and support him and the team and hope for a reverse in the premier league performances.


Yes, indeed that’s that. I’m struggling to think of another football team that invests so much time and media resources into picking a captain. And does it really matter? I couldn’t tell you Man United’s captain. Or Chelsea’s. Perhaps this is a great way to distract us from the fact that we play so bad, given the talent in our squad. Let’s face it, the captains armband gets thrown around these days like pass the parcel at a four year olds birthday party. I’ve sat and watched Eboue, Nasri and Theo fucking Walcott being handed the cherished armband. I don’t… Read more »


You were doing so well but ruined it with your last sentence.

Q3 Technique

Why would anyone down thumb this statement?


Sensible process and sensible choices (somewhat).
Also him stating that the captaincy does not guarantee a starting role should end the debacle.


Where has he stated that? I think him being the captain means precisely that he WILL start every match he’s fit…which is a disaster for us.

Paul Roberts

Where does it say he said that?


“The performance is giving me the next first XI, the next players to play, not the captains.”

Dave M

Great news, then Xhaka won’t play Monday


or will he?


To me that says he will decide the next 11, not the captains. Rather than he will decide on performance not job title/role.



Martin L. E.

Papa must be a real goofball off the pitch to not even get among the 5.


Been awful since the backend of last season bar the away performance at Valencia maybe. Sokratis shouldn’t even be on the bench for the United game. Needs to be taught a lesson in how to defend and conduct himself on the pitch. Acted like a complete dickhead clown against Aston Villa.

Pepe Le Pew

preparing your next Daily Mail article?


I remember:

“I want one English player in these five captains,”

“An English player who grew up in our academy can understand the English spirit and Arsenal values. These are the qualities and more [we want].”

Is Hector English yet?


Surely Holding should’ve been one of the five? Why Ozil is there I never know. Call me old fashioned, but captains are meant to lead by example and give 100% on the pitch. I don’t see Ozil or Xhaka doing that.


Not watched the Nottingham game, it seems.


That’s a little unfair on Xhaka, whilst I disagree with him being captain he does give it his all…it’s just not good enough for the pl


Player of the year in Germany many times, world cup winner, 3 FA cups, a La Liga winner, Spanish cup winner, german cup winner, never heard an elite player say anything but praise for him. 300k a week because the analytical data on the pitch said hes worth it, plus his online following is huge. Not a bad captain in my eyes.


I suspect that when Unai made those comments, he really meant to say that he wanted a so called “homegrown player” to be amongst the five captains.

And as far as I am aware, Hector qualifies as homegrown.


Just a confirmation of the obvious unpopular choice. Glad though that Auba, Laca and Bellerin are equally lined up. They are capable second-in-commands. I wish the entire team the very best and they will always have my support (no matter what). Up Gunners! Gunners for life.


The fans couldn’t have made it clearer that we didn’t want him to be captain. To me he represents a lot of things that are wrong in the team and that we’re trying to move on from (stupid mistakes, lack of concentration, lack of effort etc.). I hope he proves us wrong but why won’t the club listen to the fans?!


They shouldn’t listen to the fans when selecting a captain. part of me is wondering if there are some rifts among players….or if there is some dissatisfaction which led Emery to make the captaincy a popularity contest (in essence) rather than a selection he made based on the best player who is also a leader. Xhaka may be a strong personality, but he is often a liability on the pitch.


Emery really has lost the plot. The most important thing about a captain is that he should be one of the best players on the pitch. You can’t point your finger at other players if you’re having a stincker yourself: you just won’t get the respect. The captain should lead by example.

And what’s this rubbish about 5 captains? It’s time for a new manager.

Paul Roberts

The captain has to be the best captain not the best player mate.


I said ONE OF the best players. Read the post properly.

Tony Adams is my favourite ever Arsenal captain: he was never the best player but was a very good one.

Xhaka is just a walking accident.

Dave M

Maybe 5 new managers?


Completely agree. It won’t be long before we lose a game because Xhaka gave away a penalty.

In the dressing room at full time, what credibility does he have with the players? It’s not like this is beyond the realms of possibility either. He has 2/3 mistakes in him per game (which is why he was booed off against Villa last week).

A Different George

The problem with all the arguments about respect from and credibility with the other players, etc. is that it seems that they chose Xhaka.

Ya gooner

A captain at least has to have the capability to not lose their head. Xhaka is not that man.


I think the captains armband has been hugely under valued at Arsenal since Vieira left. Fabregas for me has been the only player since who I personally believe has done a job, or maybe Arteta. Either way — this 5 captains stuff is nonsense, and Xhaka? Come on Unai.. he’s shown us in the last 6 games alone he’s not good enough to even start in our midfield, let alone be captain. I’ll try my best to back him as captain, but he has to start performing, and for the record, I highly doubt it will suddenly mean he will… Read more »


Henry and Metersacker ??


RVP. Still hate him but gosh, he was leading like a real captain for a season or two.

Cultured Determination

xhaka as captain? since we’re at it, might as well name mustafi as vice captain, luiz and sokratis as the other 2, and monreal/ ram as the final one. or how about thierry or freddie or arsene? tony? george? crazy.


Strange one on this was expecting Socratis, Luiz or even holding to be in the mix.


Why has Emery allowed Mesut to stay a captain? I know it was a vote but surely Emery would’ve manipulated it so that he didn’t get in


We had a non-playing Captain for about four years.
Is it time to go back to that tradition?


I think I’ll continue to focus on Arsenal Women for now. Kim Little is a brilliant leader, and an amazing player, she thoroughly deserves to be captain. Montemurro is a great positive coach who has the team playing exciting football and working hard as a team. They are a good example of exactly what Arsenal Football Club should be, and I really struggle to enjoy watching the Arsenal men’s team with the current setup. The men’s team is so far from the Arsenal identity; I don’t expect them to be competing with the very best at the moment, but I… Read more »


Ozil? That dude barely playing football this days.


What’s the point of putting Ozil as a captain can’t even get in the team.wouldnt have Xhaka either as I don’t feel his good enough for the first team. Would have made Holding a captain as his young and can mature into great like Tony Adams.


“We were scared”, Granit Xhaka, captain.

Ya gooner

Oh my god this so much!


its not even that, emery had to come out afterwards and say they werent scared and ‘the player’ was wrong.

Lack of Perspective

His challenge and our challenge is to not make stupid challenge


Well, that’s unfortunate but i am glad the “Captain Gate” is over.

Paul Roberts

In business terms I do feel asking staff to vote for the manager they want is madness. The one they want and the one that they and the company need are two different things.


In my experience of working in a business the company usually picks the wrong manager and it normally ends badly for the workers. Just the same as at Arsenal.


Confused. That’s what his tenure has been. Morons who thought Emery should be the man to take over- hang your heads in shame. There’s a reason West Ham thought Pellegrini was a better choice.


Perform against United on Monday. Everything else is just talk
Also, surprised to see no Holding in there


Ahh, it’s Xhaka then who will be leaving in next transfer window.


With 5 captains, the other six payers must be feeling demoralised:-)

I don’t care at all, as long as we win on Monday.


Really? You share a Le Groan post on here? I didn’t even know that miserable bastard was still writing.


Seems the kind of decision that has the feeling of the end of days around it for emery, public opinion has clearly gone beyond repair with mustafi, looks nearly as far gone with xhaka and now emery himself is nearing that line. I know it was a players vote but we where heading rumors it was xhaka weeks before the vote. Hoping both can change opinions back as the only way to do that is a consistent run of good form from both manager and now captain, the fan base has been divided for too long and seems another issue… Read more »

DB’s first touch

Actually the quotes from Holding suggest the vote took place a while back but we only recently heard about it


Fairly sure he was quoted as saying “the other week” and the rumors started as soon as Koscielny failed to show up for pre season. If the vote did happen even earlier it makes it worse from a timing point a view, this wouldn’t have had nearly as much debate had it been done before the season started and before his error ridden start to the season.

Eric Blair

Surely the player’s ‘secret ballot’ was just a ruse to allow Emery to pick Xhaka? He could say simply they decided, he needed that legitimacy. Xhaka had been chosen long before. In the absence of clear authority from Emery, this process and decision worries me a lot.


You know…I remember early on last year, in the middle of our “great” unbeaten run, blogs stating on an Arsecast that he didn’t understand what Emery was doing, that it was a chore to watch, etc. At that time I think everybody kind of said “ah, be patient, it’s Emery’s first year, etc,” I think he may have even been accused of being negative. He was definitely the first person I heard expressing those sentiments. Then, I could be wrong, but I vaguely remember blogs at some point during the middle slog of the season, claiming that a CM pairing… Read more »


the captaincy it is what it is right now.. more importantly we need to start playing frontlike a team hard to beat then the captains should come to light!


He kept Ozil as a captain? What the fuck is up with Emery, picks him as a captain in a league cup game then takes him off and now says he is one of the five leaders in the team. I actually feel for Ozil, yes he is on a massive wage but the way Emery is toying with him is just fucking odd.


I agree, I’ve had neutral friends tell me they don’t get the Ozil thing, he’s clearly one of the top players in the team, etc. Feels like such a waste…


Not too surprising, but I’m glad that Bellerin made the leadership group. Auba and Laca will lead from the front, no doubt. Özil has much experience to draw from and Xhaka’s leadership qualities (whether or not you think he should feature in the starting XI) are well documented. Perhaps the likes of Holding, Chambers and Martinez could be considered in the future.

On a separate point, I note that Xhaka was 26 until the day of his 27th birthday, and as a newly anointed 27 year old, will remain at this age for a further 365 days.

Philip Visser

“Sometimes he has made a mistake, yes, but the most important thing is to analyse, to learn and to correct that in the future.” The above is quoted from Emery justification of Xhaka as his captain. And he hides behind secret player vote. Either us fans are stupid or Emery is stupid because mistakes have not been corrected. Besides he is very limited and one-dimensional as a player. If you introduce your new captain with a string of justifications, almost excuses, telling what a good man and player he is, with support in dressing room, a player that will analyse… Read more »


Not to twist the knife in the booer’s wound, but Auba just wished Granit “happy birthday capi” on his Instagram. Criticism is ok, even more than justified, insults and boos are not.

Yankee Gooner

It seems the Third Booer War is upon us.


Hah! Perfect comment to lighten my mood. Thank you, Yankee Gooner!


Basically, stop being a bunch of cunts and get behind the new captain.

Prince Gunner

Looks like the quality off the pitch is the deciding factor


“Sometimes he has made a mistake, yes, but the most important thing is to analyse, to learn and to correct that in the future.“ We are seeing the same mistakes over and over again. How far in the future is acceptable!!??

Tanned arse

I just find it alarming when emery references ‘mistakes’ and learning. It sounds like a sensible thing but although xhaka has made mistakes and not learned from them the real issue isn’t these mistakes. It’s the overall influence his style brings to the team. It hinders us. It prevents other players from shining. He occupies spaces where guendouzi is far better at operating. He slows down the tempo when others benefit or are more inclined to speed it up. Then defensively he has no natural appreciation or instinct for danger in any areas of the pitch. And fails to press… Read more »


No Holding? Are you serious?


I can see the players voting for Xhaka with his experience, especially internationally and being one of the longer term players now with Arsenal (even though it hasn’t been that long). I don’t agree with it, but can see it. I don’t get them selecting Ozil though and Emery going with a captain that can’t even make the bench in some games and has only played one league match so far. Disappointed not to see Holding be one of them, but he will get his chance soon.


Coz the players overwhelmingly wants Özil….just like they chose Xhaka as their first choice! And most probably, if Emery does the same way to name his first 11 (by getting players feedback)….Özil will be in there too!! The team respect these particular players….they work, play and spend lots of time with them….they definitely know how they are more than of the fans, who only watch that 90 mins and form their opinion. Behind the scenes, on the training grounds, at the dressing rooms, on the plane or coach….that is many more hours we dont see. So respect the players choices… Read more »


Only at Arsenal do we reward repeated bad performances by not only not dropping the player, but by making them captain.


The thing is, I just think he needs to change the opinion.

Bodie CI5

Well the hopes of me wanting xhaka sold in the January window, is as they say out the window


Please play like a captain!


I see a lot of Xhaka bashing going on here (and to be honest I get that), but didn’t the players vote on the captaincy group? Or did I just dream that 🙂


Rewarding Xhaka with this responsibility after being shite time and time again will not give him any lessons. This selection is a joke.

Kevin B

What is the purpose of a captain? In my view to be the leader on the pitch, to ensure that the game plan and instructions are carried out on the pitch. As a leader you have to lead by example and rally the troops when things are not going well and when things are going well, the captain has to ensure the team stays on top close out games. Xhaka, unfortunately does not posses the above qualities. He makes too many mistakes (gives the ball away),he disappears in games, gives away far too many fouls in dangerous areas, just makes… Read more »


I’m a ozil fan but Why is ozil one of the 5 captains when he doesn’t want to use him?!?!

How does this make any sense


Coz the players overwhelmingly wants him….just like they chose Xhaka as their first choice! And most probably, if Emery choose the same way to name his first 11….Özil will be in there too!!


Only ones I really like of those are Hector and Laca. I can see why Auba is there too, though he doesn’t seem like your classic captain. These selections go to show for all his experimenting, Emery doesn’t know his best team, and it will not be selected on form. Emery supposedly likes an “industrious” midfield, like that of Liverpool. Xhaka could barely outrun my mother and Ozil is hardly industrious. 4-3-3. Behind the attacking trio who were striking fear into defenders through the nation, until they actually saw them play that is, (Auba, Laca, Pepe) who could be more… Read more »


I gotta say, I’m disappointed there’s no Holding.

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