Emery unites fans with desperately meek decision

by & filed under News Review.

He did it, he totally did it. Unai Emery finally bit down on the bullet he’s been hiding from for 3 months and made Granit Xhaka his captain.

What a joke. Arsenal fans, for once, unanimous in condemning the decision as calamitous.

What made the whole debacle even crazier is the charade around the decision.

Where are the 5 captains? Not that I believe in that method, but it’s indecisive to tell the world you’re delaying your 5, then you deliver a huge pivot.

Secondly, why leak to the press you’re running a vote? I’ll tell you why, he’s sharing the wrath of the fans with the players. He bottled making a decision on his own because he knew it’d go down like soiled nappy to the face, so he’s co-sharing the calamity. It’s as transparent as a Boris Johnson political strategy. Meeker than inviting your wife’s side piece  over for Christmas dinner.

Unai Emery is a poor leader. This decision will be the death of him. The moment is symbolic because it perfectly captures the essence of his tenure. Confused, indecisive and bland.

Granit Xhaka is a poor choice. This move has been made purely on the basis that he’s popular in the dressing room. That’s amateur hour selection criteria. Arsenal football club is not in a situation where we can be making decisions based on likability. Don’t give me ‘there are no leaders’ because if that’s the case, why was it not a top priority this summer? Did Raul and Edu sign this off?

A leader has be able to command respect with performances as an absolute basic. Xhaka is not a steady player. He is an error machine. He is a one-trick pony. He’s a delicate orchid that needs perfect conditions to perform. Even when the weather systems align with the soil PH, he is still always a moment away from letting off a mistake grenade under no pressure. He has so many limitations, he’s become a tactical opportunity more ripe for the picking than the short goal kicks.  Not even for good teams, I’m talking Watford. Just pressure him and wait for him to break. Sometimes you don’t even need to pressure him. His off the ball work is bad enough to gift you opportunities.

The clear learning from the weekend, when we were overrun by Aston Villa, was that our best midfield does not include him. The Premier League demands power, pace, and high levels of concentration from a midfielder. Xhaka has been a clear weakness for us and now he will be an automatic starter for the rest of the season.

Bigger picture, my problem is this.

The club is trying to build a high-performance culture. That is a Huss Fahmy thing from Team Sky. It is the creation of a perfectly timed Swiss watch. If there is a single cog, anywhere in the machine, that is even slightly off… it doesn’t keep time. At the centre of our high performance culture is a player that the fans boo at half time for good reason. This decision is not a serious one. It runs counter to the clubs longterm aspirations. It sets an incredibly bad tone to the rest of the club.

Defective cogs impact the whole machine. They pollute the culture. They make perfectly good parts of the machine underperform. I simply cannot believe the exec team at Arsenal does not see this.

I can’t blame the players. Who’d pick someone that’d give them a rough ride? They’ve picked comfort, which is exactly the mindset I thought we were moving away from.

If Holding, Hector, and Matteo weren’t ready, give it to someone inoffensive but elite, like Auba. I would even take Luiz over Xhaka, at least he has pedigree at the highest level. There is no excuse for this. It’s not a future-facing decision. It doesn’t help with leadership. It fucks us tactically. It sours the mood of fans who won’t accept it. It is a damaging blow to Emery’s already sagging credibility with the fans.

What a disappointing turn, but I repeat, not unexpected.

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331 Responses to “Emery unites fans with desperately meek decision”

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  1. GillespieRoadNoMore

    Where is Lady Hale declaring the appointment of Xhaka unlawful? Let’s just hope Granit suffers some kind of training ground injury of the long term kind, either that or he goes partying with Mesut and Kola and crosses the wrong person.

  2. bennydevito

    Xhaka as captain is an absolute joke! Shouldn’t even be on the bench let alone starting and as captain ffs! You just know he will start at OT on Monday as too will Kolasinac and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him throw Ozil in too. We’ll never have a better chance of winning at OT in recent years but Emery will pick the wankers and fuck the lineup right up.

  3. DivineSherlock

    Totally Bullshit decision but I have to wonder what Freddie’s input were . I don’t think he wouldve been onboard with this.

  4. DigitalBob

    Emerys really made a mistake with this one imo. As Pedro’s said he’s arguably our worst midfielder so why make it hard to drop him by giving him the captaincy?

    Auba or Laca would have been the best fit but maybe they don’t relish collecting fines for lateness like some fucking sixth form prefect so Unai though no thanks.

  5. Demo

    I’m confused as to why the players would vote him. Really confused. The only thing I can think is, according to Rob Holding, the vote took place a few weeks ago, maybe before his calamitous pen giveaway v Spuds.

    In that case it’s not entirely fair as Bellerín and Holding were slightly out of sight.

    We should demand a second vote! #XHEXIT

  6. TheLegendaryDB10

    Absolutely shambolic decision by UE. I really can’t believe he doesn’t know the basics.

    When Pedro said:

    A leader has be able to command respect with performances as an absolute basic.

    is absolutely spot on. How are the players supposed to look up to someone in dire times when your captain has no character to influence a football game. Have you ever seen Xhaka standout? (Well apart from when he fucks up ofc.) No, me neither.

    Players like Scholes, Keane, Viera or Inzaghi, or even like Drogba (in his final season at Marseilles where he litterally carried the whole team to win the Championship), are players who have a very strong character. And they are the kind of players whom you want to look up to and play well with.

    With out that there is no leadership.

    I think that will be UE death knell.

    Emery out!!!

  7. Spanishdave

    Emery doesn’t want to drop Xhaka, now he has created a situation where he can say he is the captain so he must play no matter what.

  8. Champagne charlie


    Somewhat surprised you’d take such a view, would you be waxing lyrical if he’d have handed the armband to Auba (or someone “worthy”)? Obviously not, because it’s an irrelevance being drummed up to the high heaven.

    Who was chosen means little, how they were chosen is telling. That’s my take on the whole thing, Emery passed the buck big time. Leader he is not, irony a plenty.

    Also there’s no “moment” where Emery put a nail in his own coffin, he’s been slowly carving and varnishing the lot since day one. Don’t pretend otherwise.

  9. PK

    You just need to look at his previous attempt at appointing a captain to see how inept he is….

    Cech……gone within a year
    Monreal…..gone within a year despite Emery wanting him to stay.
    Kos…..gone within a year after a fallout with Emery
    Ramsey……gone within 6 months
    Ozil…..has hardly played and now not fit enough to last 90 minutes in a second eleven cup tie

    To quote Boris , utter Humbug

  10. Distant legrover

    The real surprise for me is that Holding wasn’t picked among the captains. He is in my opinion the best fit based on his personality, the fact that hes a solid player, he will probably start most games, abd the fact that hes 24 which means he can really grow into that role. I get the John Terry vibe from him without the misogyny.

    I also don’t get the Ozil and Bellerin picks. There s nothing captainy about Bellerin nothing and don’t get me started on sulking never present Ozil.

    As for Xhaka, always had a mixed feeling towards him. Some good games, some bad games etc. But I like that despite the public opinion of him, he’s got the backing and respect of his mates and coach. Maybe they know something we don’t? Plus if Emery play him with proper partners in Torreira and Willock then maybe he ‘ll shine more ?

  11. Freddie Ljungberg

    interview with emery:

    First he’s mature. He has experience. We are living every time under pressure, under criticism, as a coach, as a player, as a club. But really the most important thing is to stand up each moment, go ahead with his qualities, with his behaviour, with his commitment.

    “In the dressing room the players voted him as the first leadership. I know, I spoke with him, we want to change that opinion outside. That respect he has inside is very, very important. Also show outside, keep moving ahead, playing, improving, behaviour, commitment. Each match is for him, for me, for us, a very good opportunity to show our capacity.

    “But really I trust and believe in him. He is a good man. A good professional. A good player.

    “Sometimes he makes mistakes. But the most important thing is to analyse, to learn and correct those mistakes. The future is going to say to us. Our challenge and his challenge is to change that opinion, above all with a personality and improving each match, improving and giving us his help every time.”

    We spoke about that last week. I gave them some values, some qualities and after they voted.

    I checked this week and the five captains after that are: [Granit] Xhaka first, second is [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang, third is Hector Bellerin, four is [Alexandre] Lacazette and five is Mesut [Ozil].

    Is Xhaka more likely to play because he is wearing the armband?

    “The performance is giving me the next first XI, the next players to play, not the captains.”

    I’m not really that bothered who the captain is since we don’t have a clear cut candidate, I just don’t want someone that is clearly holding the team back become undroppable because he’s wearing the armband so that last quote is giving me some hope at least.

    Xhaka should be treated like Ozil and only be played in the cups and easy games at home if at all.

  12. Rambo Ramsey

    Holding has a great personality? Why cause he shoved a Stoke player into a dashboard one time?

    Holding is a solid player? When and how did this happen?

    Absolute rubbish.

  13. Distant legrover

    Also I m happy none of Auba, Laca, weren’t picked as the captain. I think selecting strikers as captains negates their striking powers and serves as a distraction. Plus of course the Arsenal captain curse that’s going around. Don’t want either of those leaving next year.

  14. raptora

    Henderson is part of Pool’s starting 11, yes or no? Did they win UCL and had a phenomenal EPL season? Henderson is tough as nails and willing to put his head where Xhaka wouldn’t put his foot. How could you even compare him to that snail of a footballer?CC: “He’s stuck to his guns and was given the armband for reasons NOT related to his football ability as they have numerous players better suited in that respect.”Do tell me who is more suited to be Liverpool captain but Henderson other than Milner who has been a Pool player for 4 years less than Henderson, and due to his age is not a guaranteed starter? Who else? Imma wait a while…

  15. Rambo Ramsey

    “But the most important thing is to analyse, to learn and correct those mistakes.”

    Yeah Unai, Granit fvcking Xhaka has proven most capable of not repeating mistakes.

    Dumb cvnt of a manager.

  16. raptora

    Wright, Keown, Merson, Neville, Nicholas have all slammed Xhaka for being a liability and making schoolboy errors.

    Yet Emery basically names him the most respected player in this team.

    Mind you it’s the guy that indirectly flamed our attack for not scoring more than 2 vs Spuds. Mind you it’s the guy that said that “we got scared by Watford”. If this is the type of interviews he’s gonna give… Please…

  17. Marko

    Jordan Henderson despite what some might say is an excellent captain. Leaves everything on the field and is quite consistent hence being a starter for Liverpool under Klopp.

  18. raptora

    As a matter of fact I have no problems to have not the best player in the team as a captain but one that is a consistently good performer. Nothing wrong with being a 7.5 player game in game out. Sagna was that type of player. Gilberto Silva also. Ray Parlour.

    Our newly named captain though has games where he is 8, then 4, then 6, then 5 then 7, then 7, then 4…

    Horrible choice and absolutely indefensible.

  19. Chris

    Hopefully the curse of the Arsenal captaincy of recent past rears its head again, and he hardly plays. However the route to this decision, and it has been poor all round, our midfield will continue to suffer with Xhaka’s continual inclusion in the side.

    If we are struggling really badly for a captaincy choice then the ‘lead by example’ path would have been preferable for me and that could have been either Lacazette or Aubameyang, the latter especially.

    There’s not much more that can be said really otherwise. The decision has been made, and quite simply it is a poor one.

  20. Gentlebris

    So Henderson lost his team the match how many times?

    Henderson insulted Mane or Sallah in the public how many fucking times?!

    Xhaka single-handedly made sure we missed CL by following an opposition player into our box and brought him down the moment he entered our box, even when the said guy was heading no where.
    How many times did Henderson ruin his team like this?

    Dull brain farting loudly on the internet.

  21. Cork City Gooner

    Poor decision from Emery ,really poor,,Xhaka is a clown who needs to be shipped on in January,He’s starting at Man utd on monday then,,laughable appointment of Captain,im really dissapointed with this

  22. Valentin

    I don’t get the furore in Xhaka getting the captaincy. A few years ago, Gallas was our captain! In most case the Captain is irrelevant. Hugo Lloris is Spurs captain, I am pretty sure that nobody listen to him on the pitch. Anybody really think I that Hugo Lloris is the kind of Braveheart type of Captain?

    I am more worried about the fact that Xhaka will start most game rather than him getting the captaincy.
    A few years ago, Kopite were asking for Henderson head. He was viewed as not good enough to play even less start for Liverpool. He changed role (he play now slightly further up instead of the deep laying quarter all) and he flourished in his new position. Hopefully the same thing will happen to Xhaka.

  23. Bob N16

    For me the issue of who’s captain is quite minor however it is a major issue if whoever is captain automatically plays and they’re shit. If Xhaka is not guaranteed a starting position then I don’t think it matters much.

    Having an outstanding captain is clearly beneficial but if you don’t have one, as long as you have a squad with the right mentality, I don’t think it matters that much.

  24. Chris


    I think the concern is that by being captain, Xhaka will be paying most of the games and therefore limiting our midfield.

    If this decision does result in Xhaka improving then great, but is is hard to imagine.

  25. Graham62

    There are several things that have come out of these past few days.

    1. We are as rudderless as ever.
    2. Emery clearly does not understand anything about the environment he finds himself in.
    3. He has disrespected us all.
    4. Whatever support he had amongst the fanbase has evaporated.
    5. His decision making ability is nothing short of shambolic.
    6. He has allowed the players to take control, in more ways than one.
    7. He has opened a massive can of worms.
    8. The timing of all of this is just magnificent. Three days before we play MU and just a few days after a very impressive display in the Kangaroo Cup from our youngsters, he has singlehandedly given us all a kick in the teeth.
    9. Xhaka is being hung out to dry and the consequences could be catastrophic.
    10. All fans now realise that we have a manager that has zero control on things and who, quiet clearly, is oblivious to the damage he has done.

    Now we’ll see just how much the hierarchy understand about Football.

    Fudge, CG was right!!

  26. raptora

    Yeah, captaincy maybe doesn’t matter as much as it did back in the day. But Emery delayed this decision for months. He might as well made a better choice. But I guess I’m asking too much of him. Like why did he even delay the decision? Kos was a goner months ago, name Nacho and Xhaka if you must. Then Nacho leaves and Xhaka becomes the first captain. Drama would have been much less than it is at the moment. Cause Emery gave himself time to make the right decision and in the end he still bottled it.

  27. Receding Hairline

    “9. Xhaka is being hung out to dry and the consequences could be catastrophic.”

    Nothing new is being asked of him, he is still going to be required to do his job on the pitch like the rest of the 10 players

    The captain does not dictate how we play or pick himself for games. Xhaka has not been named head coach of AFC.

    This overblown reaction to who wears an armband is ridiculous

    His team mates voted for him as their captain, the coach endorsed that. Let them carry on with their jobs.

  28. Champagne charlie


    Chuck your toys about over a captains armband all you like mate. Henderson was mentioned to refute the idea all captains are the talisman of the side, he clearly isn’t and the role isn’t cookie cutter. Only a few years back he was getting absolute dogs abuse for being a shower of shit.

    Pretty clear and obvious parallels I drew up, but you want to chat about him NOW having worked past all that? Switched right on you are.

    I forgot picking Xhaka to wear the armband stopped the inevitable title tilt that would come with it being on Auba’s arm. As I mentioned earlier, if you think this has any relevance to whether or not Emery was going to continue to play Xhaka you’re comically naive.

  29. Graham62


    Good afternoon.

    As you well know, this goes far deeper than “the issue of who’s captain”.

    What we have seen here is our manager make a monumental clanger of a judgement call.

    He knows that Xhaka is not a fans favourite. He sees that Xhaka is quite often, a massive liability. He allows an already farcical state of affairs, to get even further out of hand.

    He has infact done what Wenger consistently did over the past decade.

    He has made us a laughing stock.

  30. EdTheRed

    Is Xhaka more likely to play because he is wearing the armband?“The performance is giving me the next first XI, the next players to play, not the captains.”


    Calm down everyone.

  31. Valentin

    Against ManUtd, it will depends on who scores first.
    If we score first, ManUtd will lose, because they are now a counter-attacking team. Having to dominate and create opportunities against a low bloc defense is something that they currently don’t seem to be able to do. We can then end-up winning 3-1. I see us conceding late in the game.

    If ManUtd score first, then I can see us being rudderless for the rest of the game. A 1-0 loss with no shot on target in the last 20 minutes.

    Of course, Emery could repeat the same trick than against Aston-Villa substitute Xhaka and Ceballos by Willock and Torreira and see a midfield composed of Willock-Torreira-Guendouzi starts to click and save his neck again. 2-1 victory withbequalizwr by Aubameyang and last goal scored by Willock from a late surge in the box.

  32. Receding Hairline

    “He has made us a laughing stock.”

    Nah you are doing that to yourself

    He is already not a popular coach with the fan base, his style of football or lack of a style has caused concerns from day one, last seasons collapse has hung heavily in the air, most do not agree with his match day selections etc

    Who he decides to give the armband does not make any of the above go away.

    Would it be better if say Holding is named Captain but Emery keeps picking Xhaka regardless? He has nailed his mast to Xhaka as a leader and an important player for him, he is the man with the 6 million a year job to make those decisions, let him live with the consequences of said decision

    No one has been “made a laughing stock” by this, it is irrelevant in the grand scheme of things

  33. Champagne charlie


    Took 8 seconds and a “Henderson booed” google search for the inevitable links to follow:




    Could replace “Henderson” with “Xhaka” and write the same articles. Fans getting their panties in a bunch over total non-events, and overlooking the important topics.

    They had Klopp working on something of substance in the background, we have Emery trying to read a roadmap over his specs in the era of google maps. There’s issues at Arsenal, who wears an armband ain’t one of them, neither is picking an XI unless you grossly dismiss the relevance of a manager.

  34. Gentlebris

    I don’t believe the boys voted for Xhaka. I think Unai created a charade, leaked it to the press and quickly jumped behind the charade.

    But then eventually Xhaka will be dropped. The fans are alive to Xhaka now, he will eventually be done to the beach by being booed very consistently….. after that, Auba will always be the captain on the pitch and that’s all I care about. Xhaka can captain the locker room who cares!

  35. Pierre

    You should know by now that Graham has a tendency to be over dramatic…

    For the last year he and the other geriatric goon ( Tony)have been on my back consistently for my views on Emery .

    Strangely enough , just about everything he/they say now are identical to mine .

    The captaincy is irrelevant , what is more important is setting the team up in the correct formation v United….no diamond .

    Has to be 4-2-3-1 preferable as the team look more comfortable in that system or 4-3-3..

  36. Major_Jeneral

    Good post Pedro.

    Not a good decision from the UE but we move on. It is only a matter of time before this decision impacts performance on the team in a very horrific way. We wait.

    When do we play ManCity pls?

  37. raptora

    CC: “if you think this has any relevance to whether or not Emery was going to continue to play Xhaka you’re comically naive.”

    So you think that if Emery wanted to drop Xhaka out of the starting 11, what 99.9% of the Arsenal fanbase has been craving for years, it would literally make no sense if he makes him a captain or he doesn’t make him a captain? So him naming Xhaka our captain gives us zero idea if he’s going to rely on him or not? I am naive thinking that a captain USUALLY plays in every single important game for their club? Are you alright?

  38. salpardisenyc

    No question the process in selecting new captain was banter, for whatever reason it was made public. One would guess he wanted to ease pressure on Xhaka, easier to swallow for supporters if squad elected him.

    In the end does it matter, not so much for me. Xhaka is definitely in Emery’s plans captaining or not. Unai’s weakest link has to be the basic’s of figuring out what works with what he has and sticking with it.

    Problem lies with fanbase already a hair trigger with results at this early stage of season, Xhaka going to feel brunt of that when results turn. Its going to be messy.

  39. Graham62


    You,like a few others on here, are very naive.

    “Irrelevant”……. Really?

    The blasé supporters show their true colours once again.

    The consequences of this could be massive.

    Very interesting day on here.

  40. Gentlebris

    Well CC I have checked out your glorious links and none suggests that Henderson became captain few days after being booed by Liverpool fans in a home game.

    In fact the links only discuss Henderson being unappreciated as captain by Liverpool fans.

  41. Receding Hairline

    “The consequences of this could be massive.”

    Of course, that’s our title challenge dead on arrival, that’s the fans spending the game booing the man with a cloth tied around his arms not because he is having a bad game but because they disagree with him wearing a band (a band he has worn all season by the way)

    That is us losing three points after winning a game because the FA disagrees with Xhaka as captain…what next? Point deductions??

    Massive indeed

  42. Bob N16

    Graham, if you’re saying that allowing Xhaka to be selected as Captain is symptomatic of Emery’s lack of judgement, okay. Not sure I would go as far as that the decision is insulting to the supporters. In some respects it was a sensible move to make the players decide, letting the fan base know that Xhaka was their choice not his.

    Emery will be judged on his coaching/ selections not on who is the club captain. If Xhaka continues to be selected and our midfield malfunctions because of it, Emery will rightly be criticised.

    Having a bad day Graham?

  43. Gentlebris

    Then can you imagine who voted for Ozil as captain?
    Maybe Kola and Guen but I doubt it.

    I think Emery threw Ozil in the mix for effect. Every dog is aware that Ozil and Emery are not best pals, so it would appear to the public that the voting thing is indeed genuine.

  44. Champagne charlie

    What are you talking about? I said the captains armband had no bearing on the fact Emery sees Xhaka as a feature of his first XI. So the faux outrage about him being captain, and therefore in the side, is bogus. He was always a pivotal player under Emery.

    You’ll have to point out where I made any reference to Henderson being booed and then days later becoming captain. Moving goalposts is what that’s called. I said there’s parallels between Henderson getting dogs abuse and being club captain, as there is with Xhaka. That the armband doesn’t always go to the talisman of the side.

  45. Pierre

    I would say the misuse of Ozil has had a bigger impact in the way the team plays than the playing of Xhaka.

    Until we learn when to take risks with the ball and when to take care of the ball , then whether its xhaka or whoever in midfield, it wont make a blind bit of difference .

    At the moment, If Ozil isn’t playing ,its a case of whenever we have a chance to attack ,its all or nothing ( usually nothing) and the ball is turned over too quickly and we lose possession so consequently our defence gets no respite as the ball keeps coming back .

    This has to change whoever is in possession of the shirt..

    We will not see any progress whatsoever if we don’t start showing some tactical intelligence in our game….this schoolboy type of football that we have played in our last 3 league games will get us nowhere as our luck will run out , as it did last season.

  46. raptora

    RH and CC in unison for once. Too bad it’s RH jumping the wrong ship and not vice versa.

    Been pro Emery since day 1. He’s managed to evaporate my optimism into pessimism with decisions like the one today. You have to ruffle some feathers in order to get results. If you are friends with everyone, you are friends with no one. It takes tough decisions to show leadership qualities as a manager. You cannot take 3 months to name the last player in the list of leaders any Arsenal fan would give as your first captain. Players like Auba, Lacazette, Luiz, now Guendouzi have done it time and time again for us or for their previous teams. Taking the ball and leading the team forward. Or pressing from the front, or chasing an opponent deep in our own half to steal the ball. Never give up attitude.

    Xhaka on the other hand is a snail. He is never where he has to be, he’s caused the most penalties by any other player in the EPL since he joined us in 2016 (5), his 2 penalties conceded in last season have cost us 4 points – 2 vs Palace, and the 2 vs Brighton in May that basically denied us the top 4 (both time we were leading at the time he commited the fouls), he’s already cost us vs spuds. He is first in the errors leading to goal chart since he’s joined us as well with 7. Only one other guy in the whole EPL has made more than 4 (Simon Francis – 5). Penalties conceded and errors leading to goal are 2 different statistics btw. That would mean that he has directly cost us 12 goals. I highly, highly doubt that any other outfield player has cost us more than 6 for that period of time.

    Let’s name the guy captain.

  47. Graham62


    Not at all Bob.

    Ah yes, that’s right, I forgot, the players chose Xhaka.

    Makes me feel so much better knowing the likes of Ozil/ Mustafi/ AMN etc are the ones choosing our captain.

    Do you think Emery will pick Xhaka for Monday night?

    Of course he will.

    Can’t wait for that first mistake to arrive. You just know it will.

    Well done Unai, thanks for putting the team first.

  48. Wasi

    Xhaka has been made captain. Lets hope he does not get booed at for at least the next 4-5 games. Give him time lets see how we takes it . Pretty sure he’s just gonna be his old self. But lets just give him a chance. I hate to say it but its happened weve got to get on with it.Its Emery and his curious decision making or lack of.

    What is Emery doing with Ozil. He drops him , subs him then includes him in the captaincy
    group. After clearly stating he wanted an English presence in the group and in Holding we had a prime candidate. The world knows he wants to get rid of Mesut so why be acting like a girl whos giving you subtle hints that she likes you but she doesn’t and makes fun of you with her friends. Clearly removing Ozil from the group would have been garnered some reaction. Maybe Ozil might have given it one hard push or sought himself a Jan move.
    IMO Emery’s man-management is his worst quality. Literally.

  49. Dissenter

    Is Xhaka more likely to play more often because he is the club captain?

    If the answer is yes, then the captain-ship does matter.

    If there as such an item as non-paying captain, like in golf then count me in…name Xhaka eternal kapitan, I wouldn’t give a hoot.

  50. azed

    I can’t believe folks are getting pissed at Xhaka being captain because “it means he would start”….

    News flash guys Xhaka would start for Emery whether he is captain or not.

  51. Graham62

    Ok, let’s have a vote.

    How many of you think that Xhaka will play against MU?

    When, not IF, his first mistake arrives, what will be the consequences for him/the team/Emery/ supporters?

    Difficult questions I know.

    Have a go anyway.

  52. salpardisenyc

    Wished we signed Ødegaard, safe to say he’s settled in La Liga created 10 chances yesterday. Mental.

    Modric going to have to find a new club next season.

  53. Champagne charlie


    For a guy that polished Emery’s shaft you’re ever so nonchalant in claiming what’s ‘right or wrong’.

    I said I’d have chosen Laca as captain, but I’m stating quite clearly that I don’t care who the armband went to and I’m more critical of the manner it was chosen.

    If you want to stamp your feet about Xhaka be my guest, knock up Ishola because I’m sure the pair of you will have a fantastic time.

  54. Wasi

    In the team photo the first 4 caps are closest to Unai . But Holding is sitting closer to Emery than Ozil. Bonkers. Whats going on with the club?

  55. jwl

    I reckon Xhaka was chosen captain by rest of squad because he most senior player that plays regularly. All other players who have chance at captaincy are new players with no stature, Xhaka is default. I think Auba or Torr should be captain but my opinion means nowt.

  56. Redtruth

    “I would say the misuse of Ozil has had a bigger impact in the way the team plays than the playing of Xhaka.”

    Ozil is better suited to toilet cleaning duties rather than first team football.

  57. NJ Gunner

    Let’s hope that this is a perverse strategy by Edu to bolster Xhaka’s reputation so that we can sell him for a larger amount in January or the summer.

  58. raptora

    There were reports that the Arsenal camp is divided. It’s highly speculative to claim who would be with who but I will try regardless.

    The two obvious camps for me would be:

    1. French speaking players –

    Lacazette, Auba, Guen, Pepe

    2. Germans + Eastern Europeans –

    Xhaka, Ozil, Mustafi, Kolasinac, Leno, Sokratis, Mavropanos

    No idea in which camp would Luiz, Torreira, Ceballos, Martinelli be. Or the brits in Holding, Chambers, AMN, Tierney, Willock, Smith-Rowe, Nelson and we could add Bellerin in there as a 99% a London boy.

    Our French speaking players are by far the best players in the team.

    What It’s clear though is which camp Emery decided to stand by. And it smells of bad news for the Arsenal as in that group there is barely any quality if any at all.

  59. raptora

    I’d rather state what I see as it changes in front of my eyes, than be a contrarian just for the sake of being different with no quality arguments in place. You do you though.

  60. Dissenter

    “News flash guys Xhaka would start for Emery whether he is captain or not.”

    Not disputing this but is he more likely to start, now that he is captain?

    I believe you’re evading this little question because the answer is obviously yes.

  61. azed


    Xhaka being captain has not improved his chances of starting. Can you actually remember a time when Xhaka was fit and he did not start?

  62. shad

    Emery is trying too much to redeem himself in the eyes of the fans but it’s annoyingly coming off as blatant indecision or simply shirking responsibility.
    Having the players do a secret ballot kinda thing reeks of gross negligence, similar to his incomprehensible pressers and erratic tactical switches and team selctions.

    Can’t wait to see him gone. Total wombat.

  63. salpardisenyc


    You’d shoot down all members in a pool of O’Leary, McLintock, Adams and the Kray for captain not sure whats ur issue is.

  64. salpardisenyc


    You’d shoot down all members in a pool of O’Leary, McLintock, Adams and the Kray twins for captain not sure whats ur issue is.

  65. Champagne charlie


    That would make sense if it was accurate, but given I supported Emery, changed my view, and have since been vindicated for such (once again criticising the process today) then your words are hollow as it comes.

    Good try though, high five.

    Xhaka being captained doesn’t change our fortunes the remainder of the season one way or another, I’ll continue to be concerned about the things that do if that’s cool? As I say, drop Ishola an email about Xhaka if you want to chew the fat over the latest fixation.

  66. Bob N16

    Red, I do not think Xhaka should be starting with n PL matches, his deficiencies and the fact that we are more or less playing three forwards, mean that we cannot afford to play him.

    Graham, how selective are you going to be? ‘The likes of Mustafi, AMN…’
    The first team squad all voted so a little ridiculous to just name unpopular players. Look I’m no fan of Emery, I also don’t think being captain is that big a deal.

    Getting your knickers in a twist because the players chose Xhaka is slightly drama Queenie. Most supporters are looking forward to a change in manager, do we really need to get all gang busters right now?

  67. Emiratesstroller

    Let’s be brutally honest there are very few players in our current squad who
    would be considered “captain” material.

    Xhaka is probably the obvious choice, because he has been captain with Switzerland and he plays regularly for Arsenal.

    We may not rate him as a first team player, but then the option available at the
    club are limited apart from perhaps Bellerin.

    Whilst there are some who consider Holding a better option the facts are that
    until now he has not been guaranteed a place in the starting X1.

    The major problem at the moment is that there are few other players in the squad who are guaranteed a starting place apart from perhaps Leno, Bellerin, Tierney and Aubameyang.

  68. Sid

    Would have been wiser to name the captain during a winning run, if results go wrong now its game over,
    Having said that Haka out!

  69. raptora

    Regarding me polishing Emery’s shaft, I haven’t done it nearly the same amount of times you’ve licked Xhaka’s bum time and time again for 3 and some years. You keep calling him quality when it’s obvious that he’s been a car crash of a signing for us since the day he’s joined.

    Yes, I can change my opinion on Emery. And I have the balls to admit I was wrong. You do you do though. Also:

    “Arsenal are stale and I’d like to see heavy reinvestment/turnover. That being said players like Xhaka (age on his side and good attributes) aren’t on the list for me.”

    “In Xhaka’s case with those numbers he’s a a guy that looks after the ball, covers considerable ground, and has the quality to produce an end product”

    “Sell Xhaka and you’re replacing a guy that turns out for us every week.”

    “I rate his ability and his characteristics as I’ve said time and again”

    “Partner Xhaka with someone that can play as a Cm and we could get somewhere.”

    “Xhaka weaknesses are overstated by detractors and his abilities understated, it’s the classic football fan approach.”

    All gathered from 1 page. Happy rimming.

  70. Valentin


    You should not believe everything you read.
    I am sorry, but I am the one who reported that. Expect people to dismiss your comment. 😉

    I was told there was a French speaking group, a Muslim groups, an injured group, a younger player group, some floaters and some loners. Does not necessarily a bad thing that people group by affinity. However there was some build-up of resentment toward some players who people who received undeserved treatment in favour or against.

  71. UTarse

    Look on the bright side fellas, this is yet another way of bringing Emerys tenure as Arsenal manager to an end.

    The buffoon that keeps on giving with his calamitous decisions will be gone sooner rather than later with his sticking with Xhaka in the team….

    Silver lining and all that.

  72. Marko

    Not to wade in but Charlie’s take on Xhaka is so nauseating. It reads like someone who’s had a passing interest in Arsenal these last few years.

  73. Marko

    One of the biggest reasons I have for wanting Vieira as the next manager is as a former midfield great himself I would very much like to believe that he wouldn’t be enamored with Xhaka and would in fact hate to have him around and would instantly bin him. It’s my hope at least.

  74. Champagne charlie


    Considerable rimming there, saying a players deficiency are overstated. Christ, Swiss chocolate everywhere after that beauty. That’s an accurate comment as I see it, there wasn’t a peep about Xhaka after the EL game when he was one of the best players on the pitch.

    If you have a negative view of a player it doesn’t matter what they do right as you’ll always nitpick the bad. Mustafi got that treatment, Xhaka gets it, when he’s gone another will. I remain as neutral and consistent in my appraisal of players as possible. For all the criticisms Xhaka gets from the same names, it’s quite laughable how others get a head turned the other way.

    Guendouzi had a shocker vs Watford and got caught numerous times, Torreira has been pony since Jan literally bypassed in midfield despite being this fabled pit bull. Not a peep from the usual lot who seem to consider CM absolute prime time when discussing Xhaka in there and what he negates of it.

    My view on Xhaka hasn’t changed, I don’t need your approval to have a view I’ve reasoned time and again. That view also isn’t subject to change because of a mood, I’m not easily led which can’t be said for plenty on here.

  75. HighburyLegend

    “Guendouzi has far more leadership qualities that Xhaka as well as being a far better player”

    A trully awesome performance.

  76. Guns of SF

    Emery the worm has ducked the firing line but making the players the scapegoats
    The issue is that now that Zhaka is captain, he will be playing the majority of minutes in games and most games.
    That is a disaster in the making.

    There is something peculiar about the love in with Xhaka. Something really weird.

    It defies logic. Is this a response to the boo birds? A message to the team that he could care less about the fans?

    Its perplexing

  77. Guns of Hackney

    Surely this has to be the end. He has made his worst player, captain and ergo, undroppable.

    Rank amateur. Embarrassing.

    This is Arsenal. Clown college.

  78. Un na naai

    Let’s face it

    Xakha as captain is as temporary as emery’s stay at arsenal. When he’s gone it goes to holding or lacazette

    Emery is a goner. He will go on another cup run this year no doubt but his cards are already marked and he will be gone soon enough.

    Just another sorry episode to add to a history of sorry episodes.

  79. Bob N16

    CC, think your criticism of Torreira is unwarranted. I wonder whether your defence of Xhaka necessitates a negativity against other CMs. Feel you’ve put your money on the wrong midfielder.

  80. Jay

    And all the players who dislike/openly hate Emery? Ozil, mustafi and no doubt a few other players.
    Who are they going to vote for?
    The player who was roundly jeered when substituted against Villa.
    The players aren’t stupid, they know fans are turning on Xhaka.
    Stupid decision by Emery and we have to suffer the consequences.

    I think alot of the anger stems from the Villa comeback and Forrest games where we played well without xhaka. Some were thinking we might see a run without him in the team, now as captain, he should be a starter in all prem games.
    If it doesn’t go well with Xhaka starting consistently as captain, I can see the crowds turning, not only on Xhaka but Emery too.

  81. Jay

    Emery won’t be here next season, even with 4th.
    I think management has seen enough and are already identifying his successor.
    Or at least i hope so.

  82. Champagne charlie


    I don’t get the idea about putting money on anyone, you talk like I ignore the flaws. I’m critical of the idea we have a player in waiting ready to thrust us to levels above, I don’t see it.

    Also, I take exception with others to exactly what you’re suggesting of me. My criticism of Torreira isn’t because I’ve backed Xhaka, it’s because he doesn’t replace what’s being held against Xhaka. Kante II he isn’t, he’s no mobility, is 5’5, doesn’t tackle at a superior rate, so explain what’s unjust about my view?

    Do remember I was one of the only ones caring for another CM this summer btw, so let’s not pretend this is my ideal anything.

  83. TR7

    For me the post of captaincy in football is nothing more than a ceremonial post. Those who have leadership qualities in them lead on the pitch by their actions, irrespective of whether they are captain or not.The only meaningful consequence of Xhaka being appointed the team captain is he will be a regular starter. The upside of the decision is it will lead to our horribly clueless manager shown the door sooner than later. The downside is we will never/rerely get to see a midfield 3 of Ceballos, Guen and Torr which in my view is potentially a quality midfield.

  84. Nelson

    We spoke about that last week. I gave them some values, some qualities and after they voted.

    More like ” vote Xhaka, or else…”

    The result is expected. Emery is stubborn. He wants Xhaka instead of Torr to be the DM. Going forwards, we’ll have to play double pivot. If he put Guen as the other DM, then we are really screwed. They both can’t defend.
    Against Manure, I would play Chambers and Xhaka (no choice) as double pivot. Guen will play ahead of them. Ceballos will play left inside forward, a position he played in the Spain national team. Auba and Pepe will occupy the other two forward positions..

  85. Un na naai


    You don’t think Torreira was impressive last season pre Xmas?
    If you don’t then fist enough. Horse for courses.

    I will say this though. If emery and his lack of direction is responsible for the uncertain performances we are seeing from basically everyone bar lacazette and Aubameyang then could this apply to Torreira?
    In that he’s being misused and that his skills are the most suited to the role currently being given to xakha who was far more impressive slight shards of Torreira last season until emery decided he didn’t like unbeaten runs any more and fucked off a winning formula.

  86. TR7

    My guess is Ozil, Xhaka, Kolasinac and Mustafi voted for Xhaka for obvious reasons and votes of others got fragmented between PEA, Laca and Leno.

  87. Bob N16

    CC, am not saying Torreira couldn’t be improved upon, I just believe he has great feet, good anticipation, a decent pass and a willingness to do the dirty work in front of the defence even if ,he, as you choose tohighlight, is only 5ft 5.

    Xhaka, on the other hand passes well if given time and is am impressive 6ft!……. Xhaka should be upgraded for a more, athletic all round midfielder who can help protect the defence as well as being able to pass. I think Willock has more to offer than Xhaka, even now!

  88. Champagne charlie


    Yes, he absolutely was. But that was slap bang amongst the feel good factor under Emery and he’s been horrid ever since. I don’t s lay that entirely at his ability, nobody is thriving under the manager lets be clear……But….Torreira is as good a fit for the prem as Xhaka is, and that suitability is well documented.

    Personally I scoff at the idea there’s a secret midfield dynamic at the club and all Emery has to do is field X, Y, and Z and away we go. Which is why my criticism of Xhaka reaches a point and beyond that it all gets a bit redundant.

  89. Paul Kelly

    So Xhaka will regularly get the starting position over Torreira.
    That’s now given.
    Torreira will get dispondent…..now we know why he was a rumoured departure during the summer.
    He will get even more pissed off and sold below value.
    Thanks Emery and good riddance

  90. Guns of SF

    fuck it. the fans need to get loud and let Xhaka know when he stinks up the place.
    Willock is my man to replace him.

    Lets see against Manure what Xhaka does.
    Mr paternity leave

  91. Paul Kelly

    Forgetting the captaincy announcement today and in response to the title of this article ( that the decision has united Arsenal fans) does anyone on here think Xakha should be a regular first team starter ???????????

    Only those that think he should please reply as we have already heard the case against.

  92. Graham62

    Paul Kelly

    Xhaka shouldn’t be a regular first team starter, everyone knows that.

    I think many of those players who were involved in the voting process know this as well.

    Strange that.

  93. Bamford10

    As I said on the previous, let’s hope that Emery finds his way to leaving Xhaka out of the XI going forward despite his being captain. That is our only hope. And Emery’s only hope.

  94. HighburyLegend

    Monday, in the tunnel of old toilet just before the game, you will notice a big brown stain on Xhaka’s short, this will NOT be a default from your tv.

    Do NOT try to settle the image.

  95. RodneyKing

    Xhaka has been captain-in-waiting since he arrived at Arsenal.

    From day one, we were told of his leadership qualities. How his mother used to entrust him with the house keys over his elder brother, blah, blah, blah.

    We’d known for many years that Arsenal lacked leaders in the team. So understandably, many fans were excited that we finally signed a player like him.

    But now we know better. Xhaka should never have been signed in the first place.

  96. RockyRoe

    Oh Pierre stop with misusing Ozil bullshit already. Forget misuse, there is nothing left to use.

    Ozil the superman world cup winner looked pedestrian even against the mighty forest and we played our best football with him off the pitch.

    Ozil is finished, arsenal are not renewing his contract and no one else is brain dead enough to offer him 350k for 30k worth of work.

    1.5 more years of his highness enjoying his weekly bonanza with us and then we would finally be free of this ‘mercurial’ talent.

  97. RockyRoe

    UE seems to hell bent on digging his own grave. The fan base has been clamouring about dropping xhaka from the playing 11 and he goes ahead and makes.him captain!

    Unless Xhaka suddenly turn into a world beater UE decision to play him over Tor/Willock will come to bite him in the ass and rightly so.

  98. peanuts&monkeys

    Amazing how the world of Arsenal fans identify Xkaka’s problems after 4 years of poor football. The day WengerMaggot brought him, it was easily notable he is a taller, stronger but poorer Arteta.

    How many of you don’t remember even Arteta was a captain who hardly played?

  99. Leedsgunner

    Emery has tied his fortunes to Xhaka’s (lack of) judgement, one dimensional sphere of play and his propensity to say too much when silence would be better.

    So as his captain every Xhaka mistake will now become his mistake and throw his judgement into question…

    Was it Churchill who said, what is the difference between a wise man and a fool?

    A wise man allows his record speak for him and defend him.
    A fool speaks because he has nothing to be proud of but he is too blind to see it.

    If we lose at Man Utd Emery is going to look extremely foolish especially given what Xhaka has been saying lately…

  100. Bojangles

    Taking Xhaka out of the lineup is not going to fix all our problems but it would be a first step towards doing so.

    When he came to Arsenal he was touted for his technical and leadership qualities, in his 100+ games in the PL I have yet to see those qualities emerge. Obviously 2 managers have seen them.

    If you want to be generous you may excuse Wenger since he was responsible for bringing him to the club. Emery has no excuse. That he prefers a big player at DM is understandable but Xhaka is not the man.

    Torriera may not be the answer either but he is a better option than Xhaka and should not be excluded because of his height. Torriera was signed as a DM over Emery’s first choice so maybe that also has a bearing on why he refuses to to play him in his best position.

    Obviously the best solution is to remove Emery from the equation. While he is in charge we are not going to see our best team selected nor will we see the potential of the team realised.

  101. China1

    CC highlighting if xhaka was good in one game is entirely irrelevant. Besides which he was playing against a second rate German team.

    The guy has been a mainstay in our team for 3 odd years which has 100% coincided with our worst midfield in the last 2 decades (no exceptions)

    As well, you’d think if he’s played this many games you wouldn’t need to be reaching for this or that decent performance to prove he’s good. Good players are good at least 70-80% of the time minimum.

    Now let’s count how many MOTM awards has xhaka won at arsenal? Has he even managed 3?

  102. Dissenter

    Xhaka is Xhaka, he’s not going to change. He won’t learn to tackle, be at the right space or develop some speed now that he’s captain
    He’s still going to make the same laughable errors that will cost the team.
    Captain’s are supposed to be exemplary for either their sheer talent or industry. The caption is the one who chases the ball everyone else has given up on. Xhaka is the first one to stroll back when he should be running and turn away when a collective team errors occurs.
    Last season, I didn’t hold Emery’s responsible for Xhaka’s stupidity – he was just playing midfielders that were made available to him. This season, every single one of Xhaka’s errors is on Emery since he set him up as one of the first names on the team list.
    Talk about a captain that can’t connect with the fans.

  103. Dissenter

    Emery still has to play Xhaka, I’ve never believed he’s basement level. He can be lowest rungs of a rotating pool until next summer. I just object to making a him a mainstay of out starting 11. That’s why this talk of minimizing the captaincy is a bit puerile. We are moulding the team around him…in some ways.
    His skill set is not just suitable for the league. The club made mistakes with his recruitment and then compounded it with his contract extension.

  104. Tony

    funny Spuds: No need to post the article, the article header says it all.

    All gone pear shaped for Poch & Spuds.

    “Tottenham stars ‘fume at Mauricio Pochettino following Colchester embarrassment’… and claim that HE is the one with an agenda

    Pochettino claimed his players have ‘different agendas’ following cup exit

    Harry Kane has urged those who wanted out to turn around their poor form

    Christian Eriksen, Toby Alderweireld and Danny Rose all looked set to leave

    Spurs have won just two of their eight Premier League games so far this season”

  105. China1

    It seems poch looks ok when the going is good (still couldn’t win a single trophy) yet when the chips are down it all collapses. Is that not a key determinant if quality – when you can deal with difficult circumstances.

    Seems poch isn’t very good at that huh.

    Even wenger still got top 4 whilst having his best players permanently getting tapped up and even worse actually selling them without adequate replacements.

    We sold players like cesc nasri rvp and still got top 4 every year until nearly the end. What’s poch’s excuse?

    Make (a little bit) of hay when the sun is shining and drop off as soon as the clouds roll in.

    Not impressed

  106. Caligooner

    Santi is one of the best players in la Liga so far. Shame he couldn’t stay healthy his last few years but I’m not saying anything we all don’t know. Just unfortunate. Glad he’s getting this time to shine when it looked like his career was over.

  107. China1

    Cali yeah we’d have been a much better team last year and this for keeping Santi tho at the time selling him for whatever we could get did seem like the right choice

    We couldn’t have guessed he’d actually recover as he has. Full credit to him and his club for taking a punt on him. He deserves it, really

  108. Graham62


    Even in the space of 5 years, the standards in the EPL have risen considerably.

    Not defending Poch but getting top 4 now is so much harder.

    I personally feel that Poch lost it when he chose Kane ahead of Moura in the CL Final, remembering that Kane was not 100%.

    Big big call at the time but one that sent a negative message to the team.

    Anyway it’s Spuds, so who gives a shite.

  109. Graham62


    You are 100% correct.

    Anyone who knows anything about football also sees that Xhaka is not suited to the EPL.

    What does this say about Emery?


  110. Gentlebris

    Happy for Santi, he’s a player I have got huge respect for. But better leaving when he did. The EPL roughnecks would have kicked him to submission. This league is populated by thugs.

  111. Graham62

    Does anyone on here have a degree in Kinesics?

    Scratching your chin incessantly and making perplexed facial expressions means something to me.