The Arsenal captain has released a statement – but it’s imperative both club and supporters draw a line under the issue as soon as possible
The 27-year-old clashed with fans when he was substituted in the 61st minute of the game.
Ironic cheers greeted the change when the Swiss international’s number went up and he was replaced by Bukayo Saka.
A visibly disappointed Xhaka threw the armband towards vice-captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and walked slowly off the pitch.
His reaction was then met with vociferous boos from sections of the crowd and Xhaka responded by waving his arms aloft, cupping his ear and telling the fans to “f*** off”.
Many fans continued to jeer Xhaka as he made no attempt to run off and trudged slowly down the tunnel after ripping off his shirt.Embed from Getty Images
Xhaka issued the following statement on Instagram last night (October 31), four days after what happened at the Emirates Stadium.
After taking some time to reflect on what happened on Sunday afternoon, I would like to give you an explanation rather than just a quick response.
The scenes that took place around my substitution have moved me deeply.
I love this club and always give 100% on and off the pitch.
My feeling of not being understood by fans, and repeated abusive comments at matches and in social media over the last few weeks and months have hurt me deeply.
People have said things like “we will break your legs”, “kill your wife” and “wish that your daughter gets cancer”.
That has stirred me up and I reached boiling point when I felt the rejection in the stadium on Sunday.
In this situation, I let myself be carried away and reacted in a way that disrespected the group of fans that support our club, our team and myself with positive energy.
That has not been my intention and I’m sorry if that’s what people thought.
My wish is that we get back to a place of mutual respect, remembering why we fell in love with this game in the first place.
Let’s move forward positively together.Granit Xhaka
Fans and Xhaka need to move on now for the good of the teamEmbed from Getty Images
There is simply no condoning the abuse of players on social media and the vile comments directed at Granit Xhaka.
Unfortunately, these platforms give people a free reign to say what they want and they certainly don’t represent the views of true Arsenal fans.
What has been said to Xhaka is awful and should not be happening and he’s understandably upset.
The incident against Crystal Palace feels like a case of two wrongs don’t make a right.
Fans are more than within their rights to express their discontent at the team, but to single out Xhaka didn’t feel good.Embed from Getty Images
Whether he retains the captaincy remains to be seen and it’s unlikely the relationship between player and fans is ever going to be one of love.
He will of course still continue to divide opinion over whether he should be in the side or not.
But as Xhaka has now said, a “mutual respect” is what should be found now and it’s time we all try to move on for the good of the team.
After all, the most important thing is that Arsenal win football matches and these kind of in house issues aren’t constructive.
The quicker the issue is resolved and a line is drawn under it, the better.