When Granit Xhaka was bought from Borussia Mönchengladbach for reportedly £35m, Arsenal fans were made to believe that they have at last found their midfield anchor who will not only run the midfield but also carry the team with his leadership skills. As it seems, expectations were always very high from Granit Xhaka, but those expectations were sadly never matched by the player.
Arsenal under Arsene Wenger were playing like a mediocre team in his last few years, and the fans were understably frustrated, and the face of that mediocre team was the manager himself who came under heavy scrutiny. When the managers changed and Unai Emery’s reign started, the team didn’t improve much, rather it seems now that it has regressed. The fans were left frustrated again, but this time, the face of the team was Granit Xhaka. When you’re the face of the team, you get criticised and applauded both.
But instead of getting criticised, Xhaka got abused on various social media platforms. As he mentioned in the note he released yesterday, he was made a target of abuses like “we will break your legs”, ‘kill your wife” and “wish that your daughter gets cancer”. This is beyond acceptable for any club, let alone Arsenal, a club which has always been known for it’s culture and tradition.
As I mentioned before, Granit Xhaka has underperformed at Arsenal and the fans have all the rights to criticise him, but no one has any right to abuse him or his family.
What happened in the match against Crystal Palace was not right, neither by Xhaka nor by the fans. But you could understand their respective point of views and can also understand why they behaved the way they did. Now, is the time to put all of that behind and move forward positively together.
For all of us, let’s just remember what Arsene Wenger told us when he left, “To all the Arsenal lovers take care of the values of the club”.