Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka refused to take the captain’s armband during their 2-1 win over Brentford.
Arsenal were dominant in their 2-1 victory over Brentford on Saturday afternoon, as goals from Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith-Rowe wrapped up a vital three points for Mikel Arteta’s side to keep the Gunners in a strong position in the race for a top-four spot – but people were quick to notice a bizarre set of events near the end of the game.
The incident happened after Alexandre Lacazette was substituted for Nketiah in the 84th minute of the contest.
Lacazette who was named the new captain was substituted after an industrious shift against the Bees handed over his armband to Nketiah and he walked straight over to Xhaka to give him the armband.
Much to everyone’s surprise, Xhaka turned down the armband from the substitute striker and a confused Nketiah then ran over to Kieran Tierney to hand it to him instead.
Xhaka had previously been Arsenal captain but was stripped of the role in November 2019.
Former Gunners boss Unai Emery made that decision after the Swiss ace had an angry reaction after being booed by his own fans in a draw with Crystal Palace.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang replaced him at that time and he was also removed from the role last year before leaving for Barcelona in the January transfer window.
Lacazette is the new captain but was substituted after an industrious shift against the Bees but Scottish ace Tierney now appears to be second in command at the Emirates.
After Xhaka’s refusal, Morgan quickly took to Twitter to address a significant problem at Arsenal since Patrick Viera’s 2005 departure. He tweeted:
“Xhaka refusing to take the armband perfectly sums up Arsenal’s biggest problem: since Vieira left, we’ve never had a proper captain/leader.”
Xhaka has worn the armband since being stripped of the captaincy, but is still yet to regain the full trust of the fanbase after a series of errors that has seen the midfielder give away red cards and penalties regularly.
The 29-year-old is nevertheless a crucial player for Mikel Arteta’s side, but it is unclear as to why he turned the armband down.
Perhaps he felt it more appropriate to give to Tierney, who has been earmarked as a permanent skipper, or he didn’t want to wear it in front of the home fans again.
However, Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta will be more keen to focus on the positives and a 2-1 win against Brentford boosted the Gunners’ chances of a top four finish in the Premier League.