Martin Keown has accused manager Unai Emery of ‘creating’ the bust-up between Arsenal fans and captain Granit Xhaka.
Xhaka told Gunners supporters to ‘f**k off’ as he was booed off the pitch in Sunday’s 2-2 draw at home to Crystal Palace.
In a statement published on Wednesday evening, the midfielder clarified his outburst, saying he was at ‘breaking point’ over vile abuse that has been aimed at him, his wife and daughter on social media.
But Keown says his ‘veiled’ apology was not strong enough and should have been issued much sooner to properly appease the fans.
The Arsenal ‘Invincible’ also explained why he believes Emery is at fault, and why the whole situation is a reflection of the Spaniard’s poor leadership and management.
Speaking to talkSPORT host Jim White, Keown said: “What all this has done is cast the eye on Emery. You start to look at his leadership in all this.
“I blame Emery for making Xhaka captain in the first place. He’s given the captaincy to a player who the fans were booing just five days before when they played Villa. They wanted him off the pitch.
“With all due respect, he should have given it to Aubameyang.
“Emery has to make the right calls at the right times and, I’m sorry, but he’s not doing it.
“I would have told Xhaka to go back out there, admit your mistake and apologise, but that takes leadership. And so I start to look at the manager.
“I start to look deeper and think, have we solved the defensive issues? What was the problem when he came into the job?
“Were they solid enough? No.
“Are they solid now? No.
“You look at Ceballos’ amazing debut, and then he’s sitting on the bench. You look at Torreira who looks like a good signing, but he’s sitting on the bench.
“The only player who plays all the time is Xhaka, and the fans are feeling that he’s not actually playing well enough. So then that hatred is aimed at the player and he is the one who is suffering.
“Emery has created this situation, which is probably why he didn’t force the player to come out publicly and make a statement earlier in the week.
“I want to see the players who really want to fight for Arsenal, build the team around Ozil, find a plan. I know his attitude has been poor, but does the manager have the technical nous to play a system that brings Ozil into the team?
“It’s worrying, but he can rescue it. He’s worker. We need to move on and pull together as a club.”
Listen back to an extended clip of Martin Keown on talkSPORT above
Saturday is GameDay on talkSPORT as we bring you THREE live Premier League commentaries across our network, including Arsenal vs Wolves at 3pm!
Latest posts by Joseph (see all)
- Rafa Benitez would be PERFECT appointment if West Ham sacked Manuel Pellegrini, says Simon Jordan - November 19, 2019
- England’s Joe Marler insists he isn’t angry with Eddie Jones for not starting him in Rugby World Cup final – ‘We still would have lost’ - November 19, 2019
- Harry Winks hails Mauricio Pochettino and insists it’s business as usual at Tottenham despite speculation over manager’s future - November 19, 2019