Granit Xhaka: Arsenal boss Unai Emery says midfielder could return against Southampton

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Granit Xhaka has been in training and is expected to start against Vitoria 0:56
Arsenal boss Unai Emery says midfielder Granit Xhaka wants to reconnect with the club's supporters after losing the captaincy

Arsenal head coach Unai Emery says Granit Xhaka could return against Southampton on Saturday for his first appearance since being stripped of the club captaincy.

Xhaka has not featured since being involved in an altercation with the club's supporters when he was substituted in a home draw against Crystal Palace last month.

The Switzerland midfielder was then stripped of the captaincy by Emery, after which the Arsenal boss suggested Xhaka may never play for the club again.

"He's feeling better and also he's feeling his team is Arsenal now and he wants to regain the confidence of our supporters," Emery said ahead of Southampton's visit to the Emirates.

Xhaka put his troubles at Arsenal behind him as he scored for Switzerland during their 6-1 win over Gibraltar

"Little by little, we can help him to come back and connect again with us and our supporters.

"We are going to decide tomorrow [if he'll play] but I want to do that comeback giving him confidence, making him comfortable, and [at a time] when we can connect with our supporters in a good moment, a good performance and also being strong with them."

Arsenal's run of four Premier League games without a win has seen them drop eight points behind fourth-placed Manchester City, with Emery himself facing severe criticism from a significant section of the club's fan-base.

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Arsenal head coach Unai Emery
Image: Emery has faced criticism following four Premier League games without a win

Although Arsenal remain unbeaten at the Emirates this season, Emery believes the players need to forge a better connection to the home support, starting against Southampton.

"For me and for the players... We are going to start again, achieving our objective, thinking how we can reduce little by little the distance with the top four," Emery said.

"Above all we need to connect with our supporters by playing better, being in control of the game for 90 minutes with our personality and characteristics, and we haven't done this at the Emirates. Hopefully Saturday we can change that."

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