Granit Xhaka has spoken about the way his Arsenal teammates helped to encourage him after the incident during the Crystal Palace match that lost him the club captaincy.
When Xhaka was substituted against Crystal Palace, minutes after Arsenal had conceded their second goal to surrender a 2-0 lead, the fans cheered the announcement of his withdrawal, before booing his angry reaction.
The midfielder admitted in an interview with Blick that he still can’t understand that cheer from the fans, calling it “hurtful and frustrating” and bemoaning the “vehemence” and “extreme hostility” of the way he was treated.
Since then, it seems Xhaka has also had the chance to see some positives though, both in terms of the Arsenal fan reaction around the world, and also the teammates that visited and encouraged him after the game.
“Some of my teammates came to see me and I thought that was great,” Xhaka confirmed. “They encouraged me to not let it get me down. And above all they pointed out how many Arsenal fans around the world didn’t like the way the fans reacted in the stadium and condemned it.
“I got a lot of positive feedback (on the statement published about the incident afterwards), especially from the sports scene, both from players and coaches and also from a lot of Arsenal fans from all over the world.
“This has been well received and understood by the footballing community. I’m very glad about that.”
The midfielder is clearly keen to put the whole thing behind him after the international break, responding to a question about whether he was done with Arsenal by saying:
“You can be sure that I’ll keep fighting and putting myself out there in every training session. I feel that last week has been dealt with and I’m ready.”
As long as Xhaka is ready, it’s just up to Unai Emery to decide when to reintroduce the midfielder.
Given how badly things have been going for Emery recently, it’s unlikely he’s going to hold back for too long if he thinks Xhaka will add something to the team. The head coach doesn’t have time to waste on making a point, he just needs to start getting results.