Arsenal outcast Granit Xhaka could make return against Southampton
Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka could return to the team when they host Southampton in the Premier League on Saturday, manager Unai Emery said.
Xhaka, who was stripped of the captaincy for swearing at supporters last month, has not played for the club since the Oct. 27 bust-up at the Emirates following a 2-2 draw against Crystal Palace with Emery later saying he was unsure about the Swiss international’s future at the club.
“He’s feeling better and his team is Arsenal now. He wants to come back with the confidence of the supporters,” Emery told a news conference on Thursday.
“I’ve [had] a very good conversation with him. My objective is for him to come back helping us and convincing everyone that he’s going to be better in the short or long future with us.
“We are going to decide tomorrow (if he plays) but I want to give him confidence and comfort.”
Xhaka had said ongoing social media abuse aimed at his family by Gunners’ fans was one of the reasons behind his furious reaction to fans in the game against Palace, but said 10 days ago he’s ready to return.
Arsenal are winless in four league games having lost 2-0 at Leicester City last time out and Emery said he would not take 19th-placed Southampton lightly.
“I’m optimistic and I know we need to improve performances. Above all we need to play better, control the game. We are not losing at home but we are not convincing people,” Emery said.
“Every team is difficult in the Premier League. Southampton need points and are playing better away from home. I think they will be motivated but we need to impose and show our gameplan.
“We respect them but we have confidence in our capacity which is improving.”
Information from the Associated Press and Reuters was used in this story.