Arsenal vs Crystal Palace: Granit Xhaka in angry clash with Gunners fans

Arsenal’s Emery unhappy with Arsenal skipper’s angry reaction

These Arsenal fans name the player they want to replace Granit Xhaka as captain.

Arsenal let a two-goal lead slip to draw 2-2 at home with Crystal Palace as Granit Xhaka was involved in an extraordinary standoff with Emirates fans.

Arsenal captain Granit Xhaka appeared to swear at the Emirates crowd when he was booed off during ugly scenes midway through the Gunners’ extraordinary 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace.

Sokratis Papastathopoulos and David Luiz struck within two minutes of each other to give the Gunners a commanding lead inside eight minutes.

Despite Arsenal being denied an apparent late winning goal by a controversial VAR intervention, the dominant post-match talking point was an unpleasant flashpoint between the Gunners skipper and the home crowd.

When asked if Xhaka would remain captain, Arsenal boss Unai Emery pointedly replied: “Now is not the time to talk about that.”

Already a divisive figure among the Arsenal support, Xhaka’s withdrawal was initially cheered by supporters within the Emirates.

And Xhaka’s furious interaction with Arsenal supporters as he was substituted – appearing to tell fans to “f*** off” after being booed before tearing off his shirt and disappearing down the tunnel – is another issue Emery will have to solve in the coming days.

The midfielder responded by waving his arms at the crowd, cupping his ears towards them and, according to some reports, seemingly mouthing an obscenity.

He then rejected a handshake from his manager, Emery, took off his shirt and stalked down the tunnel.

“He was wrong,” Emery said after the game. “We need to stay calm and speak to him internally about that.

“We are working with the club and the players to play under pressure.

“We are going to speak with him because the reaction was wrong. We are here because we have supporters. We work for them and need to have respect for them when they are applauding us and criticising us.”

Mesut Ozil was once again nowhere to be seen, at least on the teamsheet, as Unai Emery rotated his squad from the 3-2 win over Vitoria on Thursday.

But it wasn’t Arsenal’s attackers who made an impression in the early stages. After some poor defending from the south London side, Sokratis volleyed home to break the deadlock after seven minutes.

Just 90 seconds later, the Greek’s defensive partner Luiz stabbed home from another corner as Palace struggled to organise themselves, leaving Roy Hodgson furious on the touchline.

But after a slow start, they settled and found their way back into the game in bizarre circumstances. Zaha took on Calum Chambers and beat the defender with a burst of pace before going to ground. Referee Martin Atkinson gave an indirect free-kick for simulation and booked Zaha.

But a VAR check proved there was contact and Atkinson’s decision was overturned. Up stepped Milivojevic and the Serbian was never going to miss.

The away side kept their momentum up in the second half and levelled when McArthur’s cross found Ayew, who headed past Leno.

Arsenal thought they had won it late on when Sokratis finished delightfully from 12 yards, but after a long delay the goal was chalked off for a foul on McArthur by Chambers.

To add to the drama, Zaha nearly snatched a dramatic win for Palace only to see his shot tipped wide by Leno. The spoils were shared, but for the hosts it was most certainly a case of two points dropped.

A dramatic game finishes all square with Arsenal throwing away a two-goal lead and denied a late winner by VAR.

A great result for Palace.

What happened with Granit Xhaka ?

Sky Sports’ Oli Yew at the Emirates…

‘Nasty scenes at the Emirates as Xhaka’s number goes up. He’s going to be replaced by Saka. There are huge ironic cheers from the home fans to greet the decision.

‘Xhaka then strolls off the pitch. He’s in no hurry to get off and the Arsenal fans rise as one to urge him off. It’s loud, very loud as they make their displeasure known towards the Arsenal captain, who cups his hands to his ears.

‘He’s still in no hurry as the jeers get louder and louder. He cups his hand to his ear one more time and appears to mouth a response to the jeers before taking his shirt off and heading straight down the tunnel.’

Here’s some of the reaction to the captaincy situation at Arsenal

Video: Pundits slam Xhaka’s actions after he was substituted against Crystal Palace

Arsenal vs Crystal Palace: The Xhaka incident in pictures and Video: 

Arsenal vs Crystal Palace - Granit Xhaka in angry clash with Gunners fansArsenal vs Crystal Palace - Granit Xhaka in angry clash with Gunners fans

Arsenal vs Crystal Palace - Granit Xhaka in angry clash with Gunners fans
Arsenal vs Crystal Palace – Granit Xhaka in angry clash with Gunners fans

Arsenal vs Crystal Palace - Granit Xhaka in angry clash with Gunners fans

What’s next for Arsenal?

There are surely big question marks as to whether Xhaka will feature when Arsenal travel to Liverpool in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday evening

After that, they face Wolves at Emirates Stadium next Saturday in the Premier League; Kick-off 3pm.

Video: Arsenal 2-2 Crystal Palace – Unai Emery Full Post Match Press Conference – Premier League

Arsenal 2-2 Crystal Palace: Xhaka was wrong – Emery

Xhaka was a contentious choice as new Arsenal captain – and his behaviour here did nothing to suggest it is a role that suits him.

His own performances raise questions about his suitability but his petulant, goading reaction to his 61st-minute substitution by youngster Bukayo Saka only played into the hands of those who believe he does not have the character for the role.

Of course, it will have hurt a proud professional to hear the mixture of delight and sarcasm that greeted his number coming up, but his response was provocative and met with loud condemnation from Arsenal’s fans.

Arsenal had conceded a two-goal lead so there was a sense of urgency that was not reflected in his slow stroll towards the technical area, anger growing with every laboured stride.

He then waved his arms towards Arsenal’s fans before foolishly cupping his ear and going through the most cursory of gestures with Emery, also appearing to exchange words with supporters. Xhaka then took off his shirt and went straight down the tunnel.

It summed up the discontent lurking close to the surface at Arsenal, with further evidence provided by the loud chants for exiled German star Mesut Ozil as they fought in vain for the winner.

Arsenal are in fifth but a gap is now opening up – four points to Chelsea in fourth – and this was another display that exposed their fragility and soft centre as that early advantage was cast aside.

This was another unsatisfactory 90 minutes for Emery and Arsenal.

Arsenal vs Crystal Palace: Palace did a ‘fantastic job’ – Hodgson

This draw continues Palace’s fine start to the season as they enjoy a top-six place after this battling point.

Manager Roy Hodgson will be mortified at conceding those two early goals from corners but will also be delighted at the way Palace dug deep and showed great reserves of resilience to fight back.

It was inevitable Zaha would be a central figure after Arsenal’s summer pursuit of the player fell flat and he reluctantly stayed at Selhurst Park when a move to Everton failed to materialise.

And so it proved in the incident that changed the game just after the half hour as he was initially cautioned for diving before VAR correctly ruled he had been dragged down by Chambers.

This was all the encouragement Palace needed, playing on Arsenal’s nerves and plundering the equaliser through Ayew.

Hodgson himself accepts Palace are unlikely to stay in this lofty position but there is certainly enough experience and threat in this side to ensure they will not have any serious concerns at the wrong end of the Premier League table.

Arsenal vs Crystal Palace: Man of the match – Luka Milivojevic (Crystal Palace)