Granit Xhaka: Arsenal captain will not play against Wolves, says Unai Emery

Follow the Arsenal vs Wolves live blog on Sky Sports' digital platforms on Saturday; Kick-off 3pm

Xhaka is due in training on Tuesday ahead of facing Liverpool 1:06
Arsenal head coach Unai Emery says he has dropped Granit Xhaka from the match against Wolves

Arsenal manager Unai Emery says he does not plan to play club captain Granit Xhaka in Saturday's Premier League game against Wolves.

Xhaka gave an explanation to why he gestured towards fans and swore at them, after he was jeered as he was substituted during Arsenal's 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace.

Emery suggested the midfielder will not be in the squad to face Wolves, but did not confirm whether 27-year-old would remain as the club captain.

Xhaka reacts to the crowd after being substituted by Unai Emery during their game against Crystal Palace
Image: Xhaka reacts to the crowd after being substituted by Unai Emery during their game against Crystal Palace

"The first is the person, the human. Like everyone he feels, Xhaka, with his issues, needs time to recover normality," Emery said.

"He said sorry, he gave the apology to the supporters and to everybody. Now is the focus on the match. He is training with normality with the team.

"We were waiting on Monday and Tuesday (to sort out the captaincy).

"It is not in my mind that he will play tomorrow. I am thinking tomorrow he is not going to play.

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"Now we need to be focused 100 per cent only on the match. We are going to do the training today but at the moment it is not in my mind.

"I want to speak about the players who are going to play."

'Ozil and Martinelli can help us'

Ozil has only started one Premier League this season under Unai Emery
Image: Ozil has only started one Premier League this season under Unai Emery

Emery says he was pleased with Mesut Ozil and Gabriel Martinelli's performances in Arsenal's midweek Carabao Cup exit at Anfield.

The Spaniard says Ozil, who was making his first appearance since September, could "help" the team on Saturday against Wolves.

"It is very important (for them to take their chances)," he said.

"We are playing a lot of matches and for them it is a challenge each match to show how they are and how they can help us .

"The performance on Wednesday in Liverpool was positive. I am thinking how they can help us tomorrow."

Gabriel Martinelli celebrates scoring Arsenal's second goal
Image: Gabriel Martinelli has seven goals in seven appearances for Arsenal since joining this summer

'We need to connect with the fans'

The Arsenal head coach also spoke of the importance of re-establishing a "connection" between the team and the supporters following a week which saw that relationship fractured.

Emery says he felt a stronger connection between the team and Arsenal fans in his first season at the Emirates
Image: Emery says he felt a stronger connection between the team and Arsenal fans in his first season at the Emirates

The Spaniard says he puts a much larger importance on the feeling from fans inside the stadium, arguing that a proportion of the reaction on social media is not grounded in "reality".

"Everybody will have some social media. (We have to) use it being intelligent. We can respect the people on social media, (but) we have to separate how much of it is reality - it is transmitting every supporter if they follow or not," he argued.

"For the me the (most important) is how the supporters respond on our stadium.

"We have a lot of supporters all around the world and we respect them, but the real response is inside the stadium.

"In the stadium it is normal if they are responding with some criticism to the coach, to the players.

"A lot of players get criticism in the stadium but when they recover with a good performance, they forget and they applaud the team - that is our objective.

Arsenal fan
Image: An Arsenal fan shows his displeasure at Emery's treatment of Mesut Ozil

"We want to connect with the people and win. This is our target.

"We know it will be difficult. I can't remember this (season) us losing at home, we are feeling strong but we are not winning with big results.

"Last year we felt very strong with our supporters at the Emirates. This year we are not starting with the same strong (relationship).

"I believe in our work in this process. Tomorrow is a good opportunity after the last matches to show it."

Follow the Arsenal vs Wolves live blog on Sky Sports' digital platforms on Saturday; kick-off 3pm

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