Arsenal captain Granit Xhaka drew the ire of fans after he mouthed off fans and walked straight down the tunnel upon being substituted in the 2-2 draw at home against Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Sunday. Fans were already frustrated as Arsenal blew an early two-goal advantage to allow Crystal Palace level and tensions hit the roof when manager Unai Emery decided to substitute the Swiss midfielder for youngster Bukayo Sako. Xhaka appeared frustrated at being subbed off and trudged off the field to jeers from the crowd. The Gunners skipper then put a hand to his ear, before he appeared to shout "f*** off" to the fans.
As if that was not enough, Xhaka angrily pulled off his jersey and stormed down the tunnel, going straight past Unai Emery, inciting further derision from the crowd.
Granit Xhaka being jeered by his own fans no player deserve this no matter the situation. The hate on him is too much. Xhaka is a fantastic player. It's so disappointing, though I'm not in support of his reaction. The fans pushed him though. Emery is the problem of Arsenal pic.twitter.com/F1Nsm8DwrA— Pablo Quavo (@pabloquavo1) October 27, 2019
The midfielder's actions did not go down well with the Arsenal faithful and there was an outpour of outrage on social media.
"Disgusting xhaka...he should be sold to division two asap," a frustrated fan tweeted.
"Deserves to be sold after this. Poor player, poor attitude on the field. What's the point then?" another user wrote.
"Terrible player. Shouldn't even be at Arsenal, let alone the captain. Thing is he doesn't pick himself and I have to single out this manager for criticism. Completely out of his depth," another fan wrote.
However, some fans stood up for the embattled Arsenal skipper.
"Professional Athletes are humans too. They don't deserve to be the fans' outlet for anger. Indeed they might've played bad. But that's lack of sportsmanship from football fanbases in general, not an excuse," a fan wrote.
"Unacceptable from us, it's not his fault he's getting picked over Torreira, he loves the club and gets booed and slandered by the fans week in week out," another fan commented.
"I will never blame a player for defending themselves against an 60,000 vs 1 onslaught like that.. but look at the real problem! Emery is setting these players up to fail before the whistle even blows," an user tweeted.
"What he did was completely correct. Plastic fans with agenda against a player who played good today," a fan wrote.
Unai Emery said after the match that Xhaka was wrong to throw a tantrum like that.
"He was wrong. I want to be calm but, really, he was wrong in this action," he said.
"We are working with the players to play under pressure. In a difficult moment you can be hot. You have to be clever," he added.
"We play for the supporters. We need to have a lot of respect for them when they are applauding us and when they are criticising us," Emery said.
Emery also said that he would speak to the player and the club before deciding whether Xhaka would keep the captain's armband after Sunday's incident.
(With AFP inputs)