Martin Keown thinks Arsenal boss Unai Emery should take the blame for Granit Xhaka’s outburst at fans in their 2-2 draw against Crystal Palace on Sunday.
The Gunners had flown out of the blocks and were two goals ahead inside 10 minutes, only for Palace to fight back and earn a draw.
But the talking point came after 61 minutes as Xhaka – a decisive figure among Arsenal supporters – was substituted for Bukayo Saka.
Xhaka’s withdrawal was initially greeted by large cheers, which soon turned to jeers as he took his time to leave the pitch despite the score being level.
He reacted by waving his arms, cupping his ears and seemingly mouth “f*** off” twice as he pushed away a handshake from Emery, took off his shirt and headed straight down the tunnel.
“Sunday was not the first time Granit Xhaka has been jeered by his own fans,” Keown told the Daily Mail.
“It happened on September 22 too, when Aston Villa visited. Villa were leading 2-1 at the time, then Xhaka was substituted and serenaded by boos.
“Arsenal, despite being down to 10 men, went on to win 3-2 without the midfielder. Then five days later, Unai Emery names Xhaka as captain anyway.
“Emery is as much to blame as anyone. If you let the players pick their skipper, then it becomes a popularity contest and that is not what leadership is about.
“I’ve never had a manager who decided the captaincy that way and, for me, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is still the safer bet.”