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The Redemption Of Granit Xhaka | Explained

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On today’s video, we take a deep dive into the redemption of Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka, who has gone from villain to hero at the Emirates in just over three years under Mikel Arteta. And with Arsenal playing a Patrick Vieira-less Crystal Palace at home this weekend – the infamous fixture which almost saw him leave the club in 2019 – we thought no better time than now to shed some light on the journey the Switzerland captain has made.

If you spoke to any Arsenal fan at the end of 2019 and told them that Granit Xhaka would not only still be at the club in three years time, but would remain one of their key leadership figures as they chased down a first Premier League title since 2004, they would have said you were crazy.

That October, it looked like there was no way back for him at the Emirates. One of many disappointing home performances under Unai Emery, in which the Gunners threw away a two goal lead to draw with Crystal Palace, was marred by a confrontation between Xhaka and the Arsenal fans, who cheered and celebrated his substitution on the hour mark and were met with an angry response from the player. Xhaka sarcastically gestured for them to cheer even louder, cupped his ear to the crowd, and appeared to swear at them before ripping off his shirt and going straight down the tunnel.

Named club captain by Emery just a month earlier, his relationship with the fans was seemingly beyond repair. The situation was so severe that the player’s father, who had always motivated Xhaka to keep going in the face of adversity, convincing him to stay at previous club Borussia Mönchengladbach rather than return to Switzerland when he wasn’t getting any gametime, conceded that his best option was to leave the Emirates altogether.

But while manager Emery was sacked that November, Xhaka eventually returned to the side and decided to stay in North London, becoming a mainstay under Mikel Arteta and eventually regaining the trust of the fans too. 2022-23 has been his most impressive season yet. At the time of writing he is yet to miss a Premier League fixture, and has already topped his best-ever tally for goal involvements in a league campaign.

And following the Gunners’ 3-0 victory away at Brentford back in September, which marked the side’s sixth win in seven to keep them top of the league, the travelling supporters sang Xhaka’s name for the first time since that infamous afternoon in October 2019. The midfielder was so moved by the gesture that he recorded a personal message for the fans from the pitch after they had left the stadium.

But how did he do it? And what motivated him to stay with the Gunners? Watch on to find out!


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