Martin Keown implied he didn’t believe Arsenal had hung midfielder Granit Xhaka out to dry by not utilising him recently.
The 27-year-old midfielder has not made any Unai Emery’s matchday squads since gesturing at supporters and storming down the tunnel after being subbed during the 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace.
Jim White revealed he wanted to press Keown on the subject of Xhaka and asked if the midfielder is right to believe Arsenal “hung him out to dry.”
Keown pointed out Xhaka being dropped from the squad for his actions wasn’t him being hung out to dry but his axing was a result of him not adhering to the club’s discipline.
“Well he wouldn’t make the decision, he wouldn’t buy into the fact…I’m sure the club was trying to talk to him to get him to come forward and make some sort of statement,” said Keown on talkSPORT (Friday, November 22nd, 22:39 on the broadcaster’s listen again).
“We had to wait until the Thursday for him to do that, which was ridiculous, so that’s why he has been parked on the outside of things as he wouldn’t adhere to the discipline of the football team, but I was worried about the leadership of the club then as well.
“So maybe, the manager felt a little bit that it was his fault as he picked him as captain, and it was completely against the wishes of the fans as they were ready for him to come out of the team.
“Not only did he keep him in the team, but he also made him captain.”
Has Xhaka been hung out to dry?
It seems quite dramatic to argue that the Gunners hung Xhaka out to dry as Keown is right to imply he didn’t help himself.
After all, while the level of abuse the 27-year-old has received in recent times has been unacceptable, he even referred to threats against his family in his statement (Source: Independent), the midfielder should have addressed his reaction to being booed while leaving the pitch against Palace quicker.
Xhaka may have been excused for reaching boiling point over the criticism he receives if he had simply released a statement and explained what happened quicker, rather than let the incident stew to the point where his silence did more harm.
So with that in mind, it’s hard not to think that Emery has done the right thing by leaving Xhaka out of his team.
The Switzerland international may be brought into the fold once again in the near future, and how he handles being called upon will be very telling.