Belfast Telegraph

Unai Emery confirms Granit Xhaka will not return to Arsenal team at Leicester

Xhaka has yet to return to the fold.

Granit Xhaka will not return to the Arsenal fold this weekend (John Walton/PA)
Granit Xhaka will not return to the Arsenal fold this weekend (John Walton/PA)

By Mark Mann-Bryans, PA

Granit Xhaka will once again miss out for Arsenal as Unai Emery prepares his side for a “must-win” game at Leicester.

The midfielder has been absent for the last three matches after telling supporters to “f*** off” as he was jeered after being substituted during a draw against Crystal Palace last month.

He has since been stripped of the captaincy, with the club offering counselling to a player who Emery described as “devastated, sad and very down”.

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Message to the fans;

A post shared by Granit Xhaka (@granitxhaka) on

Xhaka has yet to return to the fold, with Emery confirming he will sit out the trip to the King Power Stadium on Saturday.

Asked if the Switzerland international would be part of his squad at Leicester, Emery replied: “not yet.”

With Leicester in fine form and sitting two places and six points clear of Arsenal in the Premier League table, a visit to the East Midlands would be one of the last places Emery would want to visit.

Brendan Rodgers’ side are brimming with confidence, while Arsenal have won just two of their last nine league games and have allowed leads to slip in their last four matches.

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Leicester have been in excellent form under Brendan Rodgers this season (John Walton/PA)

With Arsenal fifth in the table as they chase a return to the Champions League, pressure has begun to mount on Emery’s position and another poor showing at Leicester could do even more damage.

“Must-win? Yes,” he said.

“We need to win and it’s very important for us tomorrow.

“But our mentality is every time to play first, using our best structure and organisation to be strong and also our individual players to use their quality to win. But in our mind, for each match it is only to win.”

We need to win and it's very important for us tomorrow Unai Emery

While a loss at Leicester and other results going against them could see Arsenal end the weekend ninth in the table, Emery insists he maintains the backing of the club’s hierarchy.

He added: “I know we are in one process and we are speaking with the club about the responsibility of the club, and they are supporting us, and the players are supporting me.”

Dani Ceballos is the only injured player after the Spain international suffered a hamstring injury in the Europa League draw in Vitoria, where Emery deployed a three-man defence for the first time this season.

PA

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