‘It’s a huge misunderstanding’, Xhaka opened up about his rocky relationship with Arsenal fans

In a lengthy ESPN interview, Gunners midfielder Granit Xhaka went back to his years at Arsenal, including his relationship with fans. Water has been flowing under the bridge since October 2019 and his jersey jet on the lawn. Today, the Swiss international is evoking another dynamic, more healthy and respectful, with the fans.

Anyone who has worn the Gunners jersey for more than six seasons is almost a survivor of a relatively changed workforce since Mikel Arteta’s arrival on the bench. Solid on his feet, stiff in pain, Granit Xhaka is preparing to wear the Arsenal jersey once again this season.

Xhaka referred to the ‘misunderstanding’ of the fans

Arriving in north London in the summer of 2016 against 45 million euros from Borussia Mönchengladbach, the Swiss international’s journey with the Gunners will not be easy. The fries in the fans line are plentiful. In an interview with ESPN, the midfielder talked about his sometimes stormy relationships with supporters, which he began translating on The Players Tribune site in April.

The first big hiccup started in October 2019. Arsenal were made at home to Crystal Palace (2-2) when Unai Emery made the decision to take Xhaka off the field. Taking his time to leave the field, thousands of whispers and insults descended from the stands to encourage him to leave the lawn immediately. The Swiss pointed his hands at his ears as a provocation, threw his jersey on the ground in anger and responded to public insults before disappearing into the tunnel toward the locker room. All this while he was the captain of the club.

Granit Xhaka during his storm outing against Crystal Palace in October 2019.
Granit Xhaka during his stormy outing against Crystal Palace in October 2019. © Icon

Taking off the armband afterwards, Xhaka redeemed himself by not showing much about his emotions. “Everyone knows the time I have with the fans,” he explained. “It’s a big disagreement in my opinion, on their part, on my part. But I play football because I have a lot of love (…) I feel like the connection between me and the fans is better than in the past (…) I can’t tell you why people are sometimes like that, so critical, and other people think differently. Maybe I’m not the right person who to ask. I want to know. but it’s hard because you can’t meet people. “

Arteta’s main role is to revive Switzerland

The Gunners player also admitted he has received advice on his online activity over the past two years. “Other people around me help me figure out what to do, when [poster quelque chose] – whether I do it today or tomorrow and so on. “Above all, he acknowledged the important role of Mikel Arteta in his development. The Spaniard stopped him in January 2020 when he was about to leave Herta Berlin. “Without him, I wouldn’t be at the club,” he said. “He helped me when I was completely depressed. He took me aside, helped me with little things, step by step, tactics, as a person, talked to me about mentality, tried to help me fans too … a monster, in tactics, knows he has it all. The way he prepares the team before training, before the games, is amazing. I have a lot of coaches, but I have to put Mikel at the best of my entire career.

It was also Arteta – along with sporting director Edu – who announced his intention to keep him in the summer of 2021, as Rome began to establish themselves. Under a contract until June 2024, Granit Xhaka is in danger even though it is easy to see the question of his future with the Gunners returning to the table. But, for now, the numbers speak for themselves: Since Pep Guardiola’s former assistant took over, Arsenal have a Premier League winning record of 53% when Xhaka plays (40 wins in 76 games) up to 45 % (nine wins in 20 games) when. not to play.

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