Xhaka should be stripped of Arsenal captaincy immediately – Winterburn


The Gunners legend believes the Swiss midfielder should lose the armband following his foul-mouthed spat with fans as he was substituted on Sunday

Former Arsenal defender Nigel Winterburn has suggested that Unai Emery should strip Granit Xhaka of the Gunners captaincy immediately.

Arsenal allowed a 2-0 lead to slip for the second time this season, drawing 2-2 with Crystal Palace on Sunday in the same fashion as they did against Watford earlier in the campaign.

Xhaka was booed by supporters as he responded poorly to being substituted, throwing his armband and walking off slowly, and the midfielder then cupped his ear to the crowd and swore at fans , before ripping his shirt off and storming down the tunnel.

Winterburn expressed his shock at Xhaka’s behaviour and suggested that, given Emery’s unusual system of having five captains, the Switzerland midfielder should be removed as one of them.

“I was very surprised, he’s the captain of Arsenal Football Club! I was amazed when he cupped his ears, his shirt was off and then he was swearing at the supporters – it’s not something you expect from your captain,” Winterburn said on talkSPORT.

“I think Unai Emery needs to take him out of the firing line in terms of the captaincy. He’s got five captains and he can easily do that.

“I don’t agree with five captains and I don’t like this ‘vote for your captain scenario’. The manager should pick the captain. I find having five captains very, very bizarre.

“This has all put Unai Emery in a very difficult situation and he’s got to deal with it quickly, he can’t let it linger on.”

“If Unai Emery backs Granit Xhaka he’s going to realise what supporting Arsenal has been all about,” the former defender added.

“If the fans don’t agree with him the manager himself his going to come under increasing pressure.

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“What it does has been it then puts a lot of pressure on the next game, over whether the manager starts Xhaka. If he doesn’t start well or he makes him captain, you’re waiting then for that reaction from supporters, and you need you supporters with you.

“Now you’re going to find there’s going to be that divide we had towards the end of Arsene Wenger’s reign, and we simply can’t have that at the club again.”

Arsenal travel to Anfield to face Liverpool in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday, far from an easy fixture as Emery looks for a response to yet another disappointing performance.


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