Football News

Arsenal boss Unai Emery explains Aubameyang captaincy decision

By Harry Edwards

Published: 18:23, 8 November 2019

Arsenal manager Unai Emery has revealed he chose to name Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as the club’s new captain due to his experience.

Granit Xhaka was stripped of the Arsenal captaincy in midweek after swearing and gesturing towards fans at the Emirates following his substitution against Crystal Palace last month.

With the game level, Xhaka was taken off by Emery as Arsenal looked to chase a winner, but took longer to leave the pitch than fans would have liked, leading to jeers – to which he reacted.

Why was Aubameyang made Arsenal captain? Five things to know…

  • Emery had named Xhaka as Arsenal captain in September.
  • But the Swiss midfielder was stripped of the captaincy following a falling out with Arsenal fans.
  • Aubameyang captained Arsenal in their 1-1 draw with Wolves last weekend.
  • The Gabonese forward was later named as permanent captain in midweek.
  • Emery has revealed his decision was made due to Aubameyang’s experience and respect in the dressing room.

The Swiss midfielder, who took his top off before going straight down the tunnel, has not featured for Arsenal since and was officially relieved of his captain duties in midweek – having only been named permanent skipper earlier this season.

Prior to Arsenal’s 1-1 draw with Vitoria on Wednesday, Emery confirmed his decision and named Gabonese forward Aubameyang as the club’s new captain.

And the Spaniard has now revealed he made the decision due to the respect Aubameyang commands in the Arsenal dressing room, in addition to him previously being vice-captain in Emery’s five-man system.

“He’s the captain,” he told reporters.

“Above all, I can remember how we did the process because last year the captains were Laurent Koscielny, Petr Cech, Aaron Ramsey and Nacho Monreal.

“They left the team – at the last moment as well, Koscielny. In that moment I decided, and also I used the characteristics to find a captain.

“After I started with Granit Xhaka because he has the quality to take the captain’s responsibility. Then after the issue, I decided it was better for him not to. Next in line is Aubameyang. The second after him is Bellerin, third is Lacazette and the fourth is Mesut Ozil.

“The first is Aubameyang because he has experience and he has the respect in the dressing room. He was the top scorer last year in the Premier League and also I know he needs time to take that responsibility 100 per cent. But we are going to support him.

“Every player, we are going to support the four captains, and we are going to support him as our first captain because he has also made one extra step to achieve that responsibility.”

Aubameyang had skippered Arsenal in their 1-1 draw with Wolves last weekend but will wear the armband as official captain when the Gunners face Leicester City on Saturday evening.

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Emery confirms Xhaka absence against Leicester

Following his falling out with Arsenal fans, Xhaka is yet to make a matchday squad for Emery, missing the Gunners’ past three games.

There had been some speculation as to whether the Swiss midfielder would return this weekend, with Arsenal set to be without Dani Ceballos, but Emery has confirmed Xhaka will be absent once more – at his own request.

When asked whether Xhaka would travel be in the squad to face Leicester, Emery said: “Not yet.

“I spoke with him. I spoke with him on Tuesday about how he’s feeling now and how he is in his mind.

“He’s working well, he’s training well, but he said to me that he’s not feeling good enough at the moment to play. We are going to wait.”

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