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Arsenal fans turn on Xhaka

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After being substituted during Arsenal’s 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace at the Emirates on Sunday afternoon, Arsenal captain Granit Xhaka appeared to tell the Arsenal fans to “f*ck off’ and removed his shirt after large sections of the Arsenal crowd were heard booing him. His behaviour after being substituted seems to be the final straw for some Arsenal fans who believe he should be stripped of the Arsenal captaincy, with some fans believing that Xhaka shouldn’t make another appearance for the club.

Across various social media platforms there have been discussion and debates regarding the incident, with some people saying that Xhaka’s actions were unjustified, and some people saying that his actions were understandable considering the reaction of the Arsenal fans towards his substitution. We’re going to look into both sides of the debate by supporting Xhaka’s actions, as well as discussing why he was wrong to do what he did when coming off the pitch. To be perfectly clear, we are not implying that all Arsenal fans are angry at Xhaka for the way he acted as there are many fans who are supporting Xhaka and think his actions were justified.

In Support of Xhaka

Arsenal fans were understandably angry and frustrated at the time of Xhaka’s substitution as they had given away a 2 goal lead and were drawing with Crystal Palace, but it must be said that Xhaka wasn’t the worst player on the pitch for Arsenal, as well as providing being responsible for assisting Sokratis’ opener. So it was unjustified for Arsenal fans to boo and ironically cheer Xhaka as he was leaving the pitch. There are claims that the cheers and boos were in response to Xhaka walking off the pitch slowly (which we’ll get into later), but it is understandable for Xhaka to assume the boos were aimed towards himself and his performance, which would’ve obviously hurt his pride and cause him to become frustrated with the Arsenal fans. Maybe if Sunday’s game against Crystal Palace was an isolated incident you could argue that he over exaggerated, however that isn’t the case. Whether it be on social media or during the games, many Arsenal fans have voiced their anger towards Xhaka and have booed him on more than one occasion. There’s talk about how Xhaka should be professional towards the situation but at the end of the day he is human, it’s understandable for the consistent abuse to get to him, which it evidently did on Sunday.

Against Xhaka

After going through the argument of why Xhaka’s actions were justified, we’ll have a look at the argument that Xhaka was wrong to react the way he did when he was substituted. As mentioned previously, when Xhaka was leaving the pitch Arsenal were drawing 2-2 and were in need of a goal, so to see Xhaka slowly walking off the pitch with no urgency would’ve been frustrating for the Arsenal fans and the boos were most likely in response to Xhaka taking too long to get off the pitch rather than in response to his performance. The main factor however for people’s anger towards Xhaka is the fact that he is the Arsenal captain and for him to remove his shirt and told the fans to “f*ck off” represents an unprofessional attitude and lack of respect which shouldn’t be shown by the captain of the club. It’s not unheard of for players to be booed by their own fans (whether you think it’s right or not) as fans are perfectly entitled to voice their thoughts and feelings towards the team and the players if they wish to do so. The vast majority of players remain professional and look to prove the fans wrong by improving their future performances when they are subject to boos and abuse. By acting the way he did, Xhaka displayed a very unprofessional attitude when he left the pitch which is made even worse by the fact that he is the captain of the club and is supposed to be a leader and a role model for first team members as well as young players who are coming through the ranks at Arsenal.