Why Arsenal skipper Granit Xhaka could take a leaf out of Chelsea vice-captain Jorginho’s book

1 Nov

It’s hard to believe that as recently as February, Jorginho was the subject of audible boos at Stamford Bridge.

It was during Chelsea’s 3-0 victory over Malmo in the Europa League and it certainly wasn’t the sort of abuse that gets put down to minority ‘sections’ of the ground.

This was loud and clear, so much so that Jorginho was actually forced into a response on the spot.

Jorginho just laughed in the face of criticism
BT Sport

But unlike Granit Xhaka, whose performances have been arguably more deserving of criticism, Jorginho offered a smirk which said, ‘Keep booing, I’ll prove you wrong one day’.

It demonstrated the sort of confidence in his own ability and mental strength which has seen him rise through the ranks and become vice-captain of the club under Frank Lampard.

There was never a problem with Jorginho the footballer, it was his status as Maurizio Sarri’s ‘pet’ that got him so much abuse. He was a tangible symbol of the fans’ frustrations.

His style hasn’t changed, he’s still the same talented midfielder, but thanks to the Lampard stamp of approval, he has suddenly emerged as a sweetheart among fans.

Jorginho captained Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night
AFP or licensors

Jorginho’s journey at Chelsea should operate as a lesson in responding to criticism from your own supporters: laugh it off, keep faith in yourself and prove them wrong.

But it’s also sad tale of modern, toxic behaviour among football fans, which is worse at Arsenal than it is anywhere else.

Last Sunday, we saw the confrontation between player and fan that has been brewing at the Emirates for a considerable amount of time.

Xhaka cupped his ear to supporters and told them to ‘f*** off’ while he was jeered off the pitch during the 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace.

Yes, Xhaka could’ve reacted differently, but Arsenal supporters must surely ask themselves what is achieved with such vilification of their own players.

Granit Xhaka clashed with fans at the Emirates last Sunday
Getty Images – Getty


There can be no room for the vile abuse which Xhaka says he has received on social media, including death threats to his family.

Social media jokes and comments might seem like a bit of harmless fun, but they breed a culture of hyper-criticism and culminate in something like this.

Xhaka and Jorginho are both players who need to take risks to affect the game. Booing makes that harder and has a directly adverse effect on the team. What’s the point?

But if this is the way we’re heading, then Jorginho should work as a fine example to players struggling with criticism from their own fans.


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