Martin Keown has blamed Unai Emery for the boos Granit Xhaka received on Sunday at the Emirates as he slow-walked off the pitch.

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 27: Unai Emery, Manager of Arsenal reacts during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Crystal Palace at Emirates Stadium on October 27, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Alex Morton/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 27: Unai Emery, Manager of Arsenal reacts during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Crystal Palace at Emirates Stadium on October 27, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Alex Morton/Getty Images)

“Sunday was not the first time Granit Xhaka has been jeered by his own fans,” Keown wrote in the Daily Mail.

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“It happened on September 22, too, when Aston Villa visited. Villa were leading 2-1 at the time and Xhaka was substituted to a chorus of boos. Arsenal, despite being down to 10 men, went on to win 3-2 without the midfielder.

“Then five days later, Unai Emery named Xhaka as captain anyway. Emery is as much to blame as anyone. If you let the players pick their skipper, then it becomes a popularity contest and that is not what leadership is about.

“I’ve never had a manager who decided the captaincy that way and, for me, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is still the safer bet.”

Emery dilly-dallied over his captain’s announcement after Laurent Koscielny was shipped out following his strike when he was still in possession of the armband. He eventually put it to a player’s vote so he didn’t have to make a decision himself.

Now, he is reportedly going to consult with his players about keeping Granit Xhaka as captain while it would seem, at least in the eyes of fans, that his position is untenable.

One might suggest Emery could deal with a lot of the problems at the club if he were to simply invest in a new backbone.