Unai Emery has asked for fans to support his players after substitution of Xhaka was universally applauded like a winning goal. The Swiss midfielder is under fire for his idiotic challenges, lack of focus and concentration and lack of fighting spirit.
The fact is that Xhaka will always cost Arsenal goals or points. He is not a natural defensive midfielder and has constantly been played in a role that has never suited him.
His attention is more on advanced play but he carries the same carefree persona as Mesut Ozil. Emery must take some responsibility for making the player captain, which has been greeted with disbelief. Why put more pressure in a player that has never found consistency in an Arsenal shirt and one that is under constant scrutiny ?
To Emery, I say don’t blame the fans, they pay the wages he hasn’t truly earned but I now sound like am joining the procession of people looking to hang the blame on one player. It isn’t just Xhaka’s fault or Mustafi’s, they are part of a problem but not the root cause.
Let’s just accept that Xhaka isn’t what Arsenal need and if Emery wants to assist the player he should allow him to leave and be welcomed into a club where Xhaka does fit and will be respected, he isn’t at Arsenal and he clearly hasn’t learnt to curb his Neanderthal tendencies or improve his game.
I’m one for allowing mistakes but Xhaka appears to make them on a weekly basis. He tracks back but doesn’t cover, he looks like he’s doing his job but is absent when needed. Xhaka lacks positional awareness and the ability to mark opponents in key areas, these are all things that should be evident in his game by now.
Yet, Emery tried to get the fans onboard by saying,
“My opinion is we need our supporters and we need our supporters helping each player.”
By way of explanation, Emery clarified substituting Xhaka when he said,
“Today I changed him because he played 90 minutes on Thursday. I preferred a fresh player. But for me he is a very important player for us. He has a big commitment here. I am sure he is going to achieve the best things. We are professional. He is an experienced player. He knows sometimes we are criticised. We need to be mature and continue working. I am going to support him. He’s a good player.”
I’m not sure many Arsenal fans will agree with Emery but it’s not like the Spaniard has the luxury of strength and depth. I feel for players being jeered, sarcastically cheered or abused by elements of the Arsenal fan base but….BUT, Xhaka had his chances and it’s clearly not working for him.
Emery on Xhaka:
“We need our supporters to help each player. Xhaka played very well on Thursday; he had a good performance against Watford. I changed him because he played 90 minutes on Thursday. For me he is a very important player. He is improving.” pic.twitter.com/Wsb2YRvMB8
— afcSource™ (@afcSource) September 22, 2019
At Arsenal, that means they extend your contract and give you the captains armband. At Manchester United, you get sold or loaned out.Someone has it right and it’s not Arsenal.