Bellerin: Xhaka is still one of us

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Hector Bellerin says Granit Xhaka still has the backing of his teammates despite being stripped of the captain’s armband, which has now been handed to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

The Swiss midfielder has paid the price for his reaction to being jeered by Arsenal fans during the 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace with his half-arsed apology seemingly not enough to rehabilitate his reputation in the eyes of the club hierarchy.

The 27-year-old midfielder was spotted in training on Tuesday morning but has, for the third game in a row, been left out of the squad.

Asked about the situation ahead of Wednesday’s Europa League clash with Vitoria, Hector Bellerin, newly promoted to vice-captain, said: “I think sometimes it’s hard to deal with your feelings.

“He knows he made a mistake but as a dressing room we all have to be together.

“These things happen and that’s it, we all back him. He’s playing his part now and we respect the players.

“We respect the decision of the coach and the club [to take away the captaincy].

“For us, it’s just to give him our love and care and for us, he is one of us, so we’re just helping him get through it as well.”

Hector was also asked about Arsenal’s recent downturn in form and what they are trying to do to turn things around.

“It’s been a tough couple of weeks in terms of the results but I always say that the good thing with football and at a club like Arsenal is that you have the chance to redeem yourself every two or three days,” he reflected.

“So we’ve been analysing and working hard in these couple of days that we’ve had and tomorrow we’re looking to get back to winning ways and to get a positive atmosphere back into the dressing room.

“That’s the message. We keep working, we keep trying hard to do our best and in this competition, we want to go far in it and it’s important that we keep our heads straight.”

Vitoria proved to be tricky opponents two weeks ago at the Emirates, twice taking the lead before substitute Nicolas Pepe rescued the Gunners with two brilliant free-kicks.

Bellerin says the quality of the Portuguese came as no surprise.

“We knew they were a team with a lot of quality and very physical players, with quick and creative players at the top,” he said.

“We analysed the last few games they played, and knew it wouldn’t be easy. It was harder than some people expected, but we knew it and not every game will be easy.

“It was a hard game, and Pepe won it at the end with the free kick. Obviously we play away from home, they will have the home crowd, so we expect it to be harder but we are ready.”

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Danny
Danny

Nice to see Hector stepping up. I hope he’s rested tomorrow so we can have our first choice back four together for the first time versus Leicester this weekend.

Fireman Sam
Fireman Sam

For god’s sake let’s get a win!

Stuey
Stuey

Hector doing the captain ‘thing’ yet again….
Next Arsenal legend?

Naked Cygan
Naked Cygan

Legend? He is softer than Xhaka. He might be ok going forward, but defensively he is weak. Over hyped player. He is nice guy, don’t get me wrong, but he won’t do much in defence, too soft.

Da Boss
Da Boss

I am sure you will be the first to boo him when he has a less then 10/10 performance. Ridiculous comment.

Cesar
Cesar

I agree bellerin has been trending down for about 2 years now. Even without the injury… He hasnt gotten better at defending. Hes good going forward but on defense he leaves much to be desired. I like the guy though.

Oscar
Oscar

Really hope so

Man Manny
Man Manny

“We respect the decision of the coach and the club [to take away the captaincy].”
There you go; I always knew that decision wasn’t Emery’s alone.

Amusa
Amusa

Pepe wins us a match with 2 free kicks.
We desperately need a goal Wolves and Emery brings on Kolasinic instead of our record signing who appeared to have finally gained form.
If that’s not a sackable offence then I don’t know what is.

Dave M
Dave M

Finally being forced into a change at the base of midfield in the EPL and then playing your best DM as attacking midfield?

Three draws from winning positions against lower half opposition and two of those at home?

Shall we go on?

Win,lose or draw Emery remains the wrong choice
Win,lose or draw Emery remains the wrong choice

We need a new right back with alot of balance and power….. Periera(leicester) doherty(wolves)

Prince Gunneralaysia
Prince Gunneralaysia

I think we are doing ok in that department with Bellerin and Chambers and with AMN as backup. The problem lies in the midfield and center defence.

Cyprus The Immortal Gooner
Cyprus The Immortal Gooner

Hector and Chambers as a backup are fine with me. AMN not so much…

Francesc
Francesc

Whenever Xhaka plays now the fans should show him some and that they never meant disrespect

Jean Ralphio
Jean Ralphio

They analysed the last few games and still!

Ollie123
Ollie123

All this talk of “analysis of the opposition” do we reckon Emery is actually more focused on what others do rather than setting up and coaching our own players??

Emery does seem to know a lot about sides. Not sure he knows much about ours!!

Abi
Abi

It’s gonna be all Ws going forward. Xhaka out of line up, Ozil and Laca back in lin up, Willock gain confidence back, Torreira be the CDM he should be, Guendhouzi doing his thing.

Tapps

How is this man NOT the Arsenal captain. Loves the club, doesn’t issue blandishments, supports his team mates and yet still makes valid points about weaknesses and errors. I’d vote for him as King.