Xhaka reacts angrily to Arsenal fans as he's substituted

By Mark Mann-Bryans, PA
PA Media: Sport
Granit Xhaka of Arsenal reacts to the crowd (Credit: Getty Images)
Granit Xhaka of Arsenal reacts to the crowd (Credit: Getty Images)

Captain Granit Xhaka appeared to swear at Arsenal supporters after he was substituted during their Premier League draw against Crystal Palace as they allowed a two-goal lead to slip.

The incident and result will see pressure grow on both Xhaka and head coach Unai Emery, who has backed the 27-year-old amid fierce fan criticism.

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On the incident, Arsenal manager Unai Emery said: "He's wrong but we are going to speak inside about that situation. I want to be calm but, really, he was wrong in this action."

Early goals from defensive pairing Sokratis Papastathopoulos and David Luiz inside 106 seconds proved insufficient to earn three points as Palace fought back to draw 2-2.

Granit Xhaka walks down the tunnel (Credit: Getty Images)
Granit Xhaka walks down the tunnel (Credit: Getty Images)

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The video assistant referee overturned a decision to book Wilfried Zaha for diving and instead gave the visitors a penalty, which was despatched by Luka Milivojevic, before Jordan Ayew’s fourth goal in eight games secured a share of the spoils.

There was further VAR drama late on as Sokratis was denied a late winner.

The result – and another poor performance from Arsenal – will be forgotten long before the incident with Xhaka as the Swiss midfielder plodded off in the 61st minute.

A decisive figure among fans, the fact he was being withdrawn was initially greeted by large cheers, which soon turned to jeers as he took his time to leave the pitch despite the score being level.

He reacted by waving his arms, cupping his ears and seemingly mouthing “F*** off” twice as he pushed away a handshake from Emery, took off his shirt and headed straight down the tunnel.

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