Arsenal captain Granit Xhaka will not return to action this weekend when the Gunners host Wolves in the Premier League, manager Unai Emery has confirmed.
Xhaka explained that he had reached ‘boiling point’ as a result of jeers and heckling as he walked from the pitch when substituted against Crystal Palace weekend.
The Swiss responded by throwing his arms in the air and cupping his hand to his ear before shouting 'f**k off', later revealing that the extent of the despicable abuse he has received from a section of the Gunners support had led him to the emotional reaction.
Xhaka, who said he wanted to take time over his explanation rather than issue a quick response, didn’t feature as Arsenal faced Liverpool in a Carabao Cup tie in midweek.
He had been described by Emery as ‘devastated’ by the incident and has been offered counselling by the club. Teammates are also believed to be privately supporting him.
BREAKING: Unai Emery confirms club captain Granit Xhaka will not play for Arsenal v Wolves on Saturday— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) November 1, 2019
Speaking to the media on Friday ahead of facing Wolves, Emery confirmed that Xhaka has been training this week, but stated that it is not his intention to select the 27-year-old for the matchday squad. He also refused to clarify whether the player will remain club captain.
Asked if the player will be able to ‘redeem’ himself – which feels a harsh term given the unsavoury reasons behind his reaction – Emery said: “I want to finish with that. He said sorry. He gave apologies to the supporters and everybody.”
In the wake of the incident, stats have been publicised highlighting Arsenal’s record with and without Xhaka, showing the team has a higher win percentage in games he hasn’t played.
However, such numbers can be misleading without fuller context and Football365 has been keen to point out that many of the games he hasn’t played in were against weaker opponents Arsenal would be expected to beat.
That list of team includes the likes of Huddersfield, Blackpool (twice), Cardiff, Qarabag (twice), Brentford, Vorskla (twice), Nottingham Forest and Vitoria SC.