Hector Bellerin has called on fans and players to stick together as Arsenal try to deal with the fallout of yesterday’s angry confrontation between captain Granit Xhaka and large swathes of the home support.
In ugly scenes just past the hour mark in the 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace, thousands at the Emirates, frustrated at their side giving up a healthy lead, turned on the Swiss when it was announced he was to be replaced by Bukayo Saka.
Rather than jog off, the midfielder chucked his armband at Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, slowly made his way to the touchline, mouthed ‘f*ck off’ at the crowd and cupped his ear to the ensuing boos. He then took his shirt off and went straight down the tunnel. The incident drove substitute Lucas Torreira to tears.
Unai Emery has since said that the player’s actions were wrong and stressed he’ll speak to Xhaka about his future conduct. It remains to be seen whether he retains the captaincy, a role he only recently had confirmed after a vote by the first team squad.
In the meantime, Bellerin, one of his deputies, has started to try and heal the rift.
We are all humans, we all have emotions, and sometimes it's not easy dealing with them. It's time to lift each other up, not to push each other away. We only win when we are together. #COYG pic.twitter.com/dkDI7M3xew
— Héctor Bellerín (@HectorBellerin) October 28, 2019
He said on Twitter: “We are all humans, we all have emotions, and sometimes it’s not easy dealing with them. It’s time to lift each other up, not to push each other away. We only win when we are together.”
The right-back’s message is certainly one that all right-minded Arsenal fans should be getting on board with right now, even if question marks remain over the suitability of the current coach and his team selections.
Amy Lawrence, writing in The Athletic, reports this morning that a devastated Xhaka was visited at home by several senior players yesterday evening.
Arsenal play against Liverpool in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday before Wolves visit the Emirates for what will likely be another tense afternoon in N5.