Arsenal head coach Unai Emery has named Granit Xhaka as the club’s new permanent captain. The midfielder has replaced Laurent Koscielny, who left for Bordeaux in the summer.
After consulting with the players, Emery announced the news to the squad on Friday. This after Xhaka won a player’s vote for their preferred skipper.
The 27-year-old Switzerland international has led the Gunners in six of their eight games in all competitions this season.
Nevertheless, Xhaka has yet to convince onlookers in the new role. So far this season he was jeered by his fans during last weekend’s win over Aston Villa while Mesut Ozil is the only other member of the initial five still at the club.
Emery is still in deliberations over a vice-captain. Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are understood to be the leading contenders.
Reactions made towards Emery’s decision on the captaincy.
Jessica Creighton said, “It’s interesting that Emery has decided to name a captain ahead of such an important game. Perhaps he feels the team needs leadership.”
“Xhaka seems a divisive character within the fan base, especially on social media. There have been lots of memes on Twitter this morning. Also, Xhaka has drawn criticism from pundits due to his defensive errors. There was a time he was booed off the pitch as well.”
” I don’t think the fans were expecting this appointment, but the important ingredients are the players. There was a vote and Xhaka led the way.”
Captaincy is not what it was in football. The days club captains played every minute of every game, being the only one with own parking space, taking training when the manager is away and meeting with the mayor after every game are gone.
However, there is still an obligation to make the captain one of the first names on the team-sheet, a piece of reverse engineering that surely cannot herald the best possible results.
The most sensible thing to do would be to look at those who are among the first on the team sheet and choose a captain from them.
Pierre Emerick Aubameyang has been mooted for that reason. Also included is Alexandre Lacazette, Bernd Leno and Hector Bellerin.
Can you leave your captain on the bench for a month? Not without undermining your decision-making process and all of those who advised you to pick him.
Emery will be duty-bound to keep picking him, much to the chagrin of almost every Arsenal fan.