Former Arsenal defender Lee Dixon has hammered Gunners manager Unai Emery for his treatment of midfielder Granit Xhaka.
The Switzerland international was recently stripped of the Arsenal captaincy for appearing to swear at the supporters after being substituted, but Dixon feels talk of him being sold is ridiculous.
“George Graham or Arsene Wenger would not have handled it this way,” he told the Daily Express. “Having a vote on who should be captain was ridiculous. It undermined Xhaka.
“He is a good player but not what Arsenal need. He tries but he has not got the football intelligence.
“But he has been made a scapegoat. He behaved badly. But to get rid of him because of that was the wrong reason. Now Emery is under pressure and he needs all his troops.”
Is Dixon right to criticise Emery for Xhaka treatment?
Emery was correct to strip Xhaka of the captaincy, there’s no doubt about that. You can’t do what Xhaka did, earning the eternal enmity of the Arsenal fans only to remain as the leader of the team and a regular stater.
So in that respect the Spaniard was spot on. But in seemingly exiling the 27-year-old and preparing to sell him at the next possible opportunity, he has perhaps overstepped the mark. However, does that mean he has scapegoated Xhaka?
Emery likely won’t have looked at the midfielder’s situation as a chance to mask his own failings at the club. Perhaps it has done that, but is very unlikely that he will have viewed it that way.
But it has given him a chance to get rid of a player who probably wasn’t good enough for the Gunners anyway, so in the end it probably ends up as a net positive for Arsenal.