Emery fails to provide much clarity on Xhaka’s future after captaincy decision

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Unai Emery says he has nothing more to add to the Granit Xhaka situation after taking the decision to strip the midfielder of the Arsenal captaincy.

The Spaniard confirmed this evening that he had informed the Swiss of his decision in a meeting at London Colney and that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang would be taking over the armband.

Xhaka, who released a statement via his own social media channels last week – subsequently reprinted in Saturday’s matchday programme – that explained his reaction to being jeered from the pitch in the 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace, has not been included in the squad to face Vitoria; the third game he’s missed in a row.

Given the circumstances, there are now serious doubts as to whether Xhaka has a future at the club, something Emery was quizzed on in his pre-game press conference in Guimarães.

“I think we are speaking a lot about that and it’s clear, there’s not more words about that,” said Emery.

“The future is Arsenal’s club future, with the players that are here now and the coaches that are here.

“We have a match tomorrow, a very important match for us in the Europa League and then on Saturday in that way we need to take some decisions about some circumstances that are happening.

“I say to you what it is about Xhaka and now is for the match tomorrow and only that is my focus.

“Our focus is for tomorrow and then I think we need time because he is one of our players and we want to protect and respect him and also continue in our way. At the moment he’s not in the group and my decision is as I said to you.”

Sounding somewhat exasperated, he went on: “The decision I have taken, and also I told him and I told the other captains and now we are continuing.

“Then the time is giving us the next matches, the next weeks and the next months, how we can continue with every player and with him also.

“But now our focus is on tomorrow, he is not here. We have other players and for me also it’s very important that I respect a lot the competition and Vitoria Guimaraes and also we have on Saturday another important match.

“Our focus is only those two matches and I want to say to you also my decision. I told them. First Xhaka and then the captains and it’s finished.

“For me, it’s finished, that moment and that issue and his future with us is coming for the next weeks or the next months and now we need to be focused for tomorrow.”

Xhaka was linked with Inter Milan in the summer and probably won’t be short of suitors should he make it clear he wants to leave in January.

While he may not be everyone’s cup of tea, he’s in the prime of his career, captains his country and could well suit a league that plays out at a slower pace.

Perhaps exit talk is a little premature. We’ll see, but it’s going to have to be one hell of a comeback for him to redeem himself in the eyes of the majority of fans.

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StockholmGooner
StockholmGooner

“protect our way”

A clarification of “our way” or pretty much anything Emery says at this point would be appreciated. I actually wouldn’t mind him just doing his press conferences in Spanish and have someone translate them… Although I fear it’ll just be much of the same frankly.

goongot
goongot

Even the worst of wenger era is better than what it is now.Atleast wenger used to talk sensible football things.

Ska
Ska

What made arsenal what it was? Values, style, a certain way of playing… Those things have literally gone out the window and I wonder how long the presence of a few invincibles will maintain the illusion that its not.

TH14
TH14

Unai’s media handling approach:

Appointing Xhaka as captain (unpopular decision among fans) = Players’ vote
Stripping Xhaka’s captaincy (more or less what majority fans would expect) = My decision

Prince Gunneralaysia
Prince Gunneralaysia

Well, we all know who Xhaka is when it involves being composed and controlling emotions. Not so good, I would say.

Man Manny
Man Manny

I don’t see Xhaka “redeem himself in the eyes of majority of the fans.”
His football would have helped, but as we all know, majority don’t rate him.
I feel the best thing for all concerned, at this point, is to for an amicable a divorce as possible. The marriage is done and dusted.
The board should invest whatever comes in in an EPL-ready DM. Names skip my mind at the moment, but there is someone in the mid-table clubs that can come in and do a job.

Mootilated
Mootilated

We have Torreira and Chambers who can play in that position. Not sure we want to invest in DMs. I think we need a right back as proper back up and competition to Bellerin more so than a DM.

Storm
Storm

We used to have a decent Bielik too

SharpasFc
SharpasFc

Yeah Derby are 15th in the Championship with a negative goal difference, so I don’t know if he would be the answer to our issues. Of course I’m not blaming him solely for Derby’s woes but he is a defender.

anonarse
anonarse

We should get that Hakimi dude at Dortmund. And a world class centre back.

TeeCee
TeeCee

We’d better go and shake the world class centre back tree and see what falls out.
They do grow on trees…. right?

Lula
Lula

This could have been communicated much better though. Arsenal podcasts did it well enough… you could say something like “at a professional level and respecting the values of the club, it is not appropriate for Granit to remain captain and he has to accept that. On a human level however I think we can all sympathize with what he has been going through. Granit is a very good footballer who loves and values the club and was proud to be captain but he let the situation get control of him and acted in a way that a leader of the team should not act on the pitch. For that he has been punished. Nonetheless he is a committed and important member of the squad who has gone through a harrowing time. I have asked the players the same as I ask the fans now: support each other and support Granit. There is no player more committed to the cause than him and we need to show him now that we appreciate that.”

Saying it is over about a player who if subject to abuse again might lash out a second time reflects a clear lack of insight and communicative tact.

Squander Baitshepi
Squander Baitshepi

Very well crafted and positioned Lula

Filsuf
Filsuf

There’s also Maitland Niles

Steve
Steve

Clarity is what is required but again that is not forthcoming…

laudgunner
laudgunner

As discussed before, it is only conclusive that the future of Xhaka and Emery are tied together. After this season, none should be at Arsenal.

anonarse
anonarse

Emery should go. Xhaka is a good player however used utterly wrong (using a playmaker as a DM is absurd) and with the right role he could still be important but if we can get a good chunk for him we should surely sell, but after that substitution reaction his value most have decreased.

anonarse
anonarse

*must not most. Smh.

Ya gooner
Ya gooner

When has xhaka been good enough even when played as a playmaker. Centre mids still have to defend and be positionally good. Also being further up the pitch means he would have even less time and space to make a decision/play that pass. We all know he needs about 4 metres of space as he can’t beat a man. We’re better off getting a new player for the roles we want him to serve.

anonarse
anonarse

I never said he was Pirlo or Xavi, he’s not world class by any means and I also want somebody better than him, but that isn’t necessarily easy to find or get.

Dave M
Dave M

100%. He cannot play further up the pitch:
(1) He’s not mobile enough
(2) he is completely unable to turn and drive past players (essential for attacking midfielders)
(3) He cannot be used in a forward press as he can’t tackle making him (along with his poor mobility) poor at closing down – thus our already terrible advanced defense would get worse

While he is positionally a pretty good player, he has proven in 2.25 years he also cannot be a lone DM in the EPL (Wenger tried it also):
(1) He can’t tackle to save his life.
(2) He needs support due to his limited mobility in preventing counter attacks – on his own we get torn apart. And fast counter attacking football is the style of the league.

Thus, we have to deploy him in a double pivot (Douzi basically playing as a second DM) to prevent us getting destroyed on the break, which in turn takes a lot out of our attack and leaves us completely unbalanced. Xhaka just doesn’t fit in this league. Emery’s misuse of Xhaka has been his overuse of Xhaka in the EPL.

Elliott
Elliott

Clear as water

SharpasFc
SharpasFc

Muddy water!

yen
yen

This whole thing could have been put to bed in one day, now we’re into second week of this ‘saga’ which suits Emery very well as the focus isn’t on performance & results.

loose_cannon
loose_cannon

After Andre Gomes’ horrific injury I could see Everton potentially making contact. They have a couple of familiar faces as well. And West Ham would mean he didn’t have to move far. Otherwise, it might be that he leaves the prem altogether.

Jarghs
Jarghs

He talks so much but says so little.

Dave M
Dave M

As a spanish speaker, Spanish is a language that requires more to be said to convey the same message than english, a slower spoken language that is very efficient at relaying information. This is not just a subjective opinion:
https://www.economist.com/graphic-detail/2019/09/28/why-are-some-languages-spoken-faster-than-others
Nonetheless, this whole argument falls down because as was pointed out by Blogs’ spanish league correspondent contact on the Arsecast a few weeks back, people struggle to understand his waffle even in his native tongue.

DatguyPepe
DatguyPepe

Of course your focus is tomorrow, we know that. Our focus is tomorrow too. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have answers about an issue concerning a player’s ‘situation’ with the club. I can bet that’s the same answer that will be dished prior to the Leicester game

Voldemort
Voldemort

The worry for me is now there may be disconnect between the fans and players. Xhaka clearly had the backing of the players to be voted in in the first place. He’s a young bloke and obviously popular in the squad. They will all be feeling for him and worrying about who could be next on the fans hit list.
This is not a good position for the club to be in . I just hope it doesn’t start to reflect on the whole teams performance. As i doubt they will now be playing for the fans.

Dave M
Dave M

Get a manager in that holds the players accountable then. Both Wenger and Emery are very laissez-faire coaches that back players to a fault. I believe this is a big reason Arsenal have been struggling for so long after such a glorious era. The invincibles and our other strong teams of those eras didn’t need a authoritarian leader because the team was full of leaders and strong personalities (Adams, Wrighty, Viera, Sol Campbell, Bergkamp, Keown, Petit, even Henry […although some will disagree], just to name a few). They controlled the squad discipline and asked a lot from their team and also motivated them through their actions, words and performances.

Moving on from that era we’ve had a void of true leaders in this squad, but Wenger’s philosophy remained backing the players at all costs. An air of complacency started to creep in and player accountability began to wane (IMO it was Wenger’s greatest failing)… “Another loss? Oh well let’s move on to the next one, we know the coach has our backs, just don’t listen to the fans”…seems to have been more of the sentiment in Wenger’s last decade and especially in his last 5 years. The same player management style remains under Unai.

So then who holds the players accountable? Who lets them know during these last 10 years that piss poor form isn’t good enough? The fans do. Hence, this is why IMO fans in the crowd are growing more and more active in letting their feelings be heard on the players performances. They are trying to hold them accountable because the managers have not. The funny thing is all these legends I’ve mentioned before generally say the same thing as all the pundits many fans [and the players – looking at you Xhaka] criticise for calling recent teams mentally soft. Our club legends too question this teams mental toughness and character. Coincidence?! No.

None of this would be happening if the team was performing better. And it was the same in Wenger’s latter years (Emery is definitely worse – but you are wearing rose-tinted glasses if you think Wenger’s time wasn’t up). Thus, we desperately need a strict manager that will control the players, hold them accountable, and keep them in-line as our next manager.

loose_cannon
loose_cannon

I don’t think it’s something that can be solved with a change of manager alone (though that would obviously help), it’s the players themselves that have to change as well, figuratively or literally. Making Xhaka captain in the first place says a lot about their mentality imo, it’s far too “buddy-buddy” and I think this stops the players from calling each other out and holding each other to account. Basically there’s no pressure to improve. And Xhaka, as captain, was in no position to critique other’s performances when his own were so consistently underwhelming.

Dave M
Dave M

I disagree on this. Squad discipline and player management is an essential component of coaching (IMO one of the most underrated components). Similar to on field tactics you are opening yourself up to failures if you lock yourself into one player management system too. Different players need to be managed differently. Some need nurturing, some have the ambition and internal determination to never accept mediocrity (see Alexi Sanchez), some are just born leaders and you can let them do their thing (guys I mentioned before), others need motivation and discipline from external sources (see many of the current squad) and others are talented, delicate, trouble makers and need a stern hand at times and nurturing at others. That’s a special skill. Wenger was a fantastic manager and a legend, but he fell down in this respect because the team’s characters changed and he didn’t adjust.

Ya gooner
Ya gooner

Was he voted though, the conspiracy theorist in me thinks an anon vote could go to whoever the manager picks anyway, just to take any heat off an appointment the manager knows is unpopular. I wouldn’t put it past emery to do that.

Perhaps I’m just too paro.

John
John

It doesn’t look like Xhaka will be an Arsenal player in February. He always tries his best and fans have been cruel to him. I get how hurt he must feel to be so publicly derided. But the bottom line is that he is just not quick enough (in thought or in physical movement) for the Premier League and would be a better player in a country more suited to his talents; Serie A would be perfect.

Danger Mouse
Danger Mouse

I thought he was very clear. He said ‘ we must protect in this moment the future of Arsenal and the football future for captain and also I tell Xhaka and my twelve other captains in this moment but also it’s important we focus on this situation where we will be the antagonist in the future and tomorrow and forever good ebening. “ See, crystal clear.

TUMANG BOKABA
TUMANG BOKABA

The Xhakagate will come to define UE’s tenure. Xhaka is solid squad player at least for a team such as The Arsenal. This is what happens when a manager (at any organization) subjectively has favorites who are ill suited to achieving objectives and needs of his organization.

UE has demonstrated an uncanny inability of self awareness and aptitude to read the mood of fans and his own squad. I also understand the sentiment that Management has been lacking in direction in the matter, but for me it appears to be a situation of club leadership “allowing” the manager to operate within the ambit of his agreed deliverables.

For me the biggest losers are Xhaka (he will forever be seen a thin skinned and not leadership material and opposing teams will target him)and UE (lacks fortitude and indecisive).

Eric Blair
Eric Blair

There has been a severe lack of discipline since Wenger’s grip on the club started slipping, and which has accelerated since he left. This is why I think Emery needs to go as he seems to have little authority, and the people at the top need to get a grip. For me this is one of the key issues facing the club.

Dan
Dan

I don’t think Emery can provide clarity on any arsenal players or staffs future whilst his is still up in the air.

HansRott
HansRott

Probably the least good reason for getting rid of Emery is, for me, one of the better reasons:

I simply can’t understand a word he says to the point that it’s futile for me to try any longer. He’s second-rate at what it takes to express himself in English yet he continues to wibble on in interviews like a modern-day Basque Henry Higgins making a point to an audience of none. He’s obviously given up on making himself understood to me and that’s just not on. He’s the epitome of someone who’s both relentless and a conceder to defeat. And it’s never going to get better.

Problem is the people who got it wrong by appointing him in the first place are the very same people who now need to magically acquire the character traits to get it right now and sack themselves the very next minute after relieving Emery of his workload. They cannot be entrusted to get it wrong again. Fuck knows what they’re waiting for.

Lula
Lula

Translation:

I want to avoid talking about this by stating that my focus is only on the matches in front of us. At the same time, I want to tell you that he is a member of the Arsenal team moving forward and will feature in the games ahead. The matter is now closed and I don’t want to talk about it anymore (because the matter is in fact not closed).

GraeB
GraeB

Happy to be proven wrong but I can’t see any way back for Xhaka. How can we expect any commitment to the cause from a player who hates his audience. If he were to play, it would be for his mates in the dressing room only.

I think he has to go in January and then be forgotten in the dressing room when they have no need to support him further.

Curse of captaincy seems to have kicked in already with Real Madrid rumoured to be preparing bid for Auba.

Jeremy
Jeremy

Oh course you would believe that.

Daniel Hayle
Daniel Hayle

Can we just have one fucking captain

Dave M
Dave M

Boring…

jarlov
jarlov

I am sure that Xhaka will never play for us again. His head left us the moment he walked of the pitch to the that terrible noise full of hate. He is now further humiliated with having his captains armband taken away. If you throw in the family situation in this, there is no way he will want to stay at our club. This is a shit situation, created by shit fans. That is the fact. He is not even that bad a player. He has some of the best passing skills in the game, he wins air duells, and also score some wondergoals once in a while. I am curious who the next “i drive him to the airport myself” player will be. One thing i know though, if this hatred towards our own players not ends, we will slowly dig our own grave. He said the players was scared during that Watford game. Maybe he ment scared of our own fans? I would not be suprised if that was the fact.

Storm
Storm

https://mobile.twitter.com/squawka/status/1168218046655344645?lang=en
Xhaka is a liability and at his best adds nothing to the team(whatever done good is canceled by regular clusterfucks or giving away needless fouls leading to goals). Bloke dug his own grave from countless repetitive mistakes, and never reflected nor apologized for them. No smoke without fire. Time to move on.

Dave M
Dave M

You can add to that no midfielder in EPL history has given away more penalties than Xhaka’s 5, quite an achievement in only 2.25 seasons.

Goonerjag
Goonerjag

Losing two captains in acrimonious circumstances over the space of a few months…that’s the Arsenal way it seems.

Storm
Storm

Xhaka is now also getting what used to be the Ozil treatment from Emery. Lol

Alex
Alex

Exactly! Same words, same attitude!

Rectum Spectrum
Rectum Spectrum

“Emery fails to provide much clarity on….” you could get a lot out of that headline.

hillarious that Wenger will probably guide Bayern to the end of their season while we struggle on with emery.

RoUh
RoUh

To be honest, I kinda hope we lose to Leicester on Saturday in a similar fashion the Saints did so there’s no other possibility than to give Emery the boot.
Our chances to qualify for CL might be bigger that way.

That’s not good….

Flavoured Rice

If talking gibberish was worth a trophy then give this man the Ballon Dor

Daniel Thompson
Daniel Thompson

Management must be patient with Xhaka. I think he did what he did on the spur of the moment. He’s been there for us when it matters most in certain situations.

Santori
Santori

Gullible fans as much to blame for this self inflicted mess (if not more)

McNulty disgracefully stoking the issue, trying to make it seem Xhaka was goaing the fans by walking off slowly without providing ANY context of the abuse hurled at the captain several matches before.

BUT too many Arsenal fans are easily deceived or provoked by media manufactured crisis.

This is a self inflicted problem that has ONLY made Arsenal 9and Unai’s) predicament worse.

We have no better solution than Granit in midfield. Torreira has his own shortcomings, Cebellos not the Santi figure some prefer think he is, Willock is a young player with plenty to learn.

We lack options for captain and granit was one of the better ones.

Aubameyang no better if nor worse an option.

Ozil isn’t captain material we’ve all know that.

Sokratis IMO probably one of the better candidates that we should consider but tonight we used Holding instead.

If there is one criticism of Unai is his indecisiveness.

He needs to just bite the bullet and appoint the person best made to organize our backline/midfield.

If granit is out of the picture, then Sokratis IMO is next up to help provide some seniority and leadership.