There still doesn’t seem to be any way that Granit Xhaka can captain Arsenal again after the events on Sunday. Of course some of the Arsenal fans should be utterly ashamed of themselves, but he can’t react in that way.
In case anybody missed it, Xhaka reacted badly to being jeered off the pitch. He swore and gestured at the fans, blanked the manager and then ripped his shirt off in frustration.
He’s now issued an apology of sorts, although it still has a fairly big dig at the section of the support who turned on him. The Mirror reported on a statement he released – here are some of the key quotes:
“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 weeks and months have 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.”
In a way you have to respect him for not completely caving and sticking to his convictions in the statement. It’s clear he regrets how he handled things, but he doesn’t come out and say some of the fans didn’t deserve it either.
Obviously there is a large section of the Arsenal support who have behaved normally and will feel incredibly let down by his actions against Palace.
It sounds like it might be best for him to give up the captaincy and purely focus on his own game and enjoying his football again. It might have reached a point where he needs a fresh start and a transfer could suit everyone, but it will be fascinating to see how he’s received the next time he plays.