I tuned in eagerly to Unai Emery’s press conference post Xhaka gate, in the hope of seeing leadership and control but having watched the majority of it, there was a feeling in the pit of my stomach that the agreeable, well mannered Spaniard is out of his depth here.
More coach than boss, his language was mild as he wittered on without purpose or clarity. He knew the questions would be quite difficult and that the majority would be about Xhaka and the captaincy but he was fluffy and unsure in his responses. That’s quite worrying.
Ferguson would have told the press to mind their own business, whilst Wenger would have declared it s private matter but we are talking about masters of the media, which Emery clearly isn’t. On the subject of Xhaka, Emery said,
“At the moment I’m not speaking & I don’t want to think about that.”
He has too or he’ll end up with another player on the fringes claiming wages for nothing. In a desperate attempt to get fans behind the petulant midfielder he said,
“It is not easy for him & for the team. He is now devastated, sad. Really, he knows he was wrong and he feels inside very deep.”
Having watched Xhaka’s performance I can safely say that his Sunday substitution was the first time I’d seen any anger or passion about anything. I quite liked it even though it was at the wrong time and executed in the wrong way.
Xhaka has always been a passenger that seemed to give nothing and expressed little but his little impromptu firework display showed he is human after all. So called fans have continued the abuse Xhaka on social media, which is completely despicable but it does indicate how bad the situation has become.
Emery failed to clarify the captaincy and meekly confirmed that Xhaka was not included in the side for the EFL game. He seemed uncomfortable and shrugged his shoulders while offering a series of expressions that did nothing to convince anyone that Xhaka would play anytime soon, especially as Captain.
It will therefore be interesting to see who wears the armband in his absence and not that it indicates much with another three captains in line but it may add to the speculation already doing the rounds.
Could Ozil play and wear the armband ? Nothings out of the question as the Emirates assumes the role of circus with Emery as the circus master.