On this week’s Daily Cannon Arsenal podcast, Matthew and Anita spent some time talking about Unai Emery and Granit Xhaka and how the manager seems to have really dropped his captain in it.
Matthew: I’m not that surprised because, ultimately, there’s no way you can look at that situation and not think it’s a fucking nightmare
You always get, not cliques, because I don’t think we’re a particularly clique-y squad at the moment. But you know the Francophone lads tend to stick together, the German speakers, or the ones who grow up in Germany, tend to stick together. And the English lads will tend to stick together. Xhaka’s very well known for being someone who is in every group. You need that person to be there.
I’m really sad about the situation because I don’t know how Xhaka can stay as captain after that.
But he is, by far and away, the best candidate at this moment in time because he’s also one of the only ones with proven captaincy experience at national, club level, and different age groups.
He’s by far and away the outstanding candidate, unless you want to make David Luiz captain, but he’s only just joined and not a longer term option.
Anita: I think he will give the captaincy to Hector Bellerin, in part to…
Matthew: Assuage the fans?
Anita: Get back on the fans’ side again.
Matthew: This is the difficulty, unfortunately. I don’t really blame Emery because he was trying to do something to influence the game, but knowing the broader circumstances, Emery really dropped Xhaka in the shit there.
But then I think that’s been happening for a while. Xhaka has become the scapegoat because he’s continually exposed, playing in a midfield that expects him to be the main defensive midfielder, which we all know isn’t his game.
He’s a deep-lying playmaker. His form has suffered as he’s been more and more exposed. His confidence isn’t where it was, and yet he still gets picked every single game because he does offer some qualities that we’re otherwise lacking.
But at this time, it’s just letting him get more and more exposed.
Then he’s made captain, which you could tell by their PR, the club knew was not going to be a popular decision. I totally understand why he was named captain because, like I said, he’s the best candidate, but I think this situation has been allowed to escalate without any form of intervention.
Part of the problem is that Emery’s not a great communicator. He’s tried to touch on the subject but it just bounced off the fans, whereas you can imagine if Wenger came out with some impassioned plea why Xhaka’s a really good captain and the players want him, I want him, he’s got these qualities. It would have placated the situation much more.
But because Emery just has, for whatever reason, lacked the ability to communicate effectively with the fans, as we’ve discussed at length on this podcast, it means that Xhaka’s been in the front lines to receive the bullet for the fans disgruntlement.
At the end of the day, you can show your disgruntlement towards an individual player more easily than you can show it towards the manager.
You can hear what else they had to say on Episode 220: VAR! Xhaka! Emery! Ozil! The Arsenal soap opera continues or subscribe in any good podcast app to make sure you never miss an episode.