Oh dear, oh Arsenal.
It's not the best time to be a Gooner at present, and the Gunners' 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace at the Emirates - having led 2-0 inside the opening ten minutes - has done very little to get the fans back on Unai Emery's side.
Sokratis and David Luiz had given Arsenal what looked like a comfortable lead, but a Luka Milivojevic penalty gave their London rivals hope before the break. To the dismay of the home support, the lead had evaporated altogether by the 52nd minute, when Jordan Ayew capitalised on some defensive fragility.
2-2 it would stay, but while throwing a two-goal lead is bad enough in itself, it wasn't even the main negative headline from an Arsenal perspective - that came via an incident involving club captain Granit Xhaka midway through the second half.
The Switzerland captain is a long way from a fan favourite at present, and when Emery opted to withdraw him for Bukayo Saka shortly after his side were pegged back, the decision was met with delight by the home fans.
Huge cheers as Xhaka is subbed. He's walking off rather than running, crowd are fuming and he then signals angrily to them. Wow.— Charles Watts (@charles_watts) October 27, 2019
There were ironic cheers when Xhaka's number came up, but the hostility towards the 27-year-old would only escalate. He seemed to take his time leaving the field at a time when the supporters were baying for another goal, and as frustrated jeers were directed towards him from his own fans, he appeared to cup his ear - as if to purposely invite further criticism.
Xhaka subbed off and fans booing him because he’s walking slow and he signals to make it louder and he throw Arsenal kit on the floor. Who’s captain is this— Aubazettes (@Aubazettes) October 27, 2019
Throwing his shirt on the floor, he appeared to tell supporters to 'f--- off' before storming down the tunnel. He appeared visibly annoyed at the decision by his manager, and the treatment he received from fans upon his substitution.
Unai Emery just subbed off Xhaka who was walking off the pitch, the fans were booing him telling him to sprint quickly, Xhaka cupped his ears 'can't hear you' then responds to the crowd by telling them to Fuck Off & takes off his Arsenal shirt then goes down the tunnel. WOW.— 360Sources (@360Sources) October 27, 2019
This feels like a landmark moment for Xhaka and #afc fans. His substitution is greeted by cheers, he's then booed as he walks off (instead of running with the score at 2-2). He then cups his ear to the crowd, shouts "f*** off", takes his shirt off and walks down the tunnel.— James Olley (@JamesOlley) October 27, 2019
The worst behaviour from an Arsenal captain since William Gallas. Simply unnaceptable behviour. Childishly poor from Granit Xhaka but Unai Emery should bear some blame for appoonting him as club captain. What on earth is going on at the club. This isn't why Emery got the job pic.twitter.com/0eNKbknIs9— Layth (@laythy29) October 27, 2019
The situation is hardly a great look for the club, and is indicative of the wider issue at play - a disconnect between the fans and the team that seems to have been simmering under the surface since long before Unai Emery's appointment.
I started supporting Arsenal for the class it always seemed to exude.— Rupin Kale (@Vegansportlover) October 27, 2019
60,000 grown men humiliating a man over and over until he breaks is not what I stand for. Xhaka might have been wrong, but the disgraceful fans were DEFINITELY wrong.#ARSCRY
It's unclear as yet if Xhaka will face any disciplinary action, but as the story continues to develop in the wake of the match, it is one worth keeping an eye on.
Source : 90min