Arsene Wenger has revealed his opinion on the recent storm over Granit Xhaka’s captaincy at Arsenal and his clash with the Gunners faithful.
The 27-year-old was involved in a spat with supporters during the recent clash with Crystal Palace at the Emirates as he was jeered while making his way off the pitch.
While it was perhaps down to the fact that he was taking too long to come off, the Swiss international reacted angrily and egged them on before removing his shirt and storming straight down the tunnel.
Naturally, as Arsenal captain, many found that unacceptable behaviour while a statement was released a few days later from Xhaka who explained his actions and why he reacted the way in which he did.
While he largely blamed it on the abuse that he has received online from some fans and issued an apology of sort to others, he has been left out of the Arsenal squad since and was stripped of the captaincy this week as confirmed by boss Unai Emery.
Given his strong connection with Arsenal, Wenger was asked for his opinion on the situation this week and commended Xhaka for apologising but reiterated the values and expectations at the club in terms of setting a standard in the way players behave.
“You have people with passion, with the pressure they are under, with the disappointment they carry out, they have sometimes reactions you don’t want,” he told beIN Sports, as quoted by The Sun, “But you have to remind people of the behaviour you want.
“I think Xhaka is an intelligent player, contrary to what I heard in recent weeks. Finally he apologised and that’s what he [Emery] wanted from him.
“As a manager you have to face these kind of decisions. We always face the unexpected as a manager, you have to make quick decisions.
“I think Arsenal Football Club is respected all over the world because it’s built on values and everyone has to respect these values and the manager has to get them to be respected.
“Arsenal, for me, had always had a touch of class, for me football today in the modern era has a huge responsibility on the way we behave, the way we are examples.
“Arsenal are part of the big clubs in the world and we have to show that.”
Time will tell whether or not Xhaka plays for Arsenal again as Emery still has a big decision to make on that, but for now, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will take over captain duty while Wenger is clearly hopeful that all concerned can learn from the experience and come out better for it to respect the club’s reputation.