Unai Emery has revealed that Josh Kroenke visited the Arsenal changing room after the 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace as the club’s hierarchy quickly rallied around a crestfallen squad shocked by Granit Xhaka’s confrontation with supporters.
Three days have passed since the Swiss, angry at being jeered off the pitch, provoked an even bigger backlash from supporters by cupping his ear and swearing at them. It has been suggested that the midfielder could lose the captaincy, a position he inherited just weeks ago, but for the moment, the club is focused on rehabilitating the mental state of a player said to be ‘sad’ and ‘devastated’.
While the incident and talking points about the misuse of VAR, which ruled out a late winner for the Gunners on Sunday, have garnered many headlines, it’s almost been easy to forget that we’ve slipped four points adrift of the Champions League places.
Ahead of the Carabao Cup clash with Liverpool, Emery was asked about the downturn in form. “We are responsible, the club and I,” he said, regarding poor results.
“We know our responsibility is to help everybody, and also when we are making some mistakes to recognise it.
“Sunday for example, after the match, Josh Kroenke was also in the dressing room speaking with me.
“We were speaking for 10 minutes about the situation but all the time helping each other.
“He’s supporting me, he’s supporting the players, we were talking about the circumstance with Granit Xhaka, saying that he was wrong and we need to manage that with him.
“And yesterday the same, it was the day off for us and the players but we were here also, I was here and also I was speaking with Raul, with Edu, and also speaking with Xhaka.
“But now preparing the match tomorrow is the most important, but also we need the time managing different situations.”
Xhaka will not be part of the squad that plays at Anfield this evening and is expected to miss Saturday’s game against Wolves at the Emirates. While acknowledging that his captain was in the wrong, Emery spoke in-depth yesterday about trying to help the player recover from the rut he finds hiself in.