Arsenal manager Unai Emery has this evening reacted to Granit Xhaka’s foul-mouthed outburst, following his substitution during the club’s draw with Crystal Palace.
Arsenal pegged back
The Gunners welcomed capital rivals Palace to the Emirates a short time ago, for a league clash.
Arsenal headed into proceedings sitting 5th in the Premier League table, 5 points adrift of 4th-placed Chelsea, and in dire need of a bounce-back performance.
After being put to the sword by a goal to nil at Sheffield United on Monday night, the capital giants’ blushes were only spared by a late double from substitute Nicolase Pepe versus Vitoria SC in the Europa League during the week.
However, when all was said and done in the English capital this evening, Arsenal’s struggles continued.
A quickfire double from Sokratis Papastathopoulos and David Luiz inside the opening 10 minutes set up what looked set to be a comfortable day’s work for Emery’s outfit.
A nightmare 80 minutes for the hosts ensued, however, during which Luka Milivojević and Jordan Ayew both netted to claw Palace back to level terms.
And, just when it looked as though the tension around the Emirates couldn’t reach a more intense level, a late go-ahead strike from Sokratis was subsequently ruled out by VAR.
As such, in the end, Arsenal were forced to settle for a point.
2 – After winning 49 consecutive Premier League games when going two goals ahead, Arsenal have dropped points in each of the last two matches where they have taken a two-goal lead (also drawing 2-2 v Watford in September). Backbone. pic.twitter.com/ARdtf0qPg4
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 27, 2019
Highlights: Arsenal 2-2 Crystal Palace
‘He was wrong’
While the toxic atmosphere amongst the Arsenal faithful was understandably high after what looked set to be a late winner for their side was disallowed, it actually peaked just past the hour mark.
This came after Granit Xhaka’s number flashed across the 4th official’s board, indicating that the Gunners captain was set to be replaced by Bukayo Saka.
Xhaka’s substitution was quickly met by a chorus of sarcastic cheers, followed by heavy booing, on the part of the home crowd.
And the Swiss midfielder, clearly aggravated by both the scoreline and the Emirates crowd, subsequently allowed his emotions to get the better of him:
This feels like a landmark moment for Xhaka and #afc fans. His substitution is greeted by cheers, he’s then booed as he walks off (instead of running with the score at 2-2). He then cups his ear to the crowd, shouts “f*** off”, takes his shirt off and walks down the tunnel.
— James Olley (@JamesOlley) October 27, 2019
As such, Unai Emery was tonight inevitably drawn on the actions of his captain, during a post-match interview.
The Arsenal boss, though, was in no mood to defend Xhaka.
Emery labelled the midfielder’s actions as ‘wrong’, before confirming that he will discuss the incident with Xhaka in private:
‘He’s wrong but we are going to speak inside about that situation.’
‘I want to be calm but, really, he was wrong in this action.’
Quotes via the BBC