It has been a turbulent few years at Arsenal, with the glory days of Premier League title wins under Arsene Wenger now seeming like a lifetime ago.

While there are some positive signs currently under Unai Emery, a lack of consistency and the regular potential to concede soft goals means the Gunners are not firing as the fans would like.

That said, with the likes of Tottenham and Manchester United also misfiring, Betway have short odds on Arsenal finishing in the Premier League top four this season.

However, in recent weeks a high-profile player incident has added another dark cloud over the Emirates Stadium and means that one Arsenal player’s future in North London is decidedly unclear.

In the 2-2 draw against Crystal Palace last month, Gunners captain Granit Xhaka was substituted in the second half by Emery and an altercation occurred between the player and the supporters.

While a section of the Emirates Stadium booed the Switzerland international, the central midfielder struck back by making hand gestures, voicing his discontent and cursing at the crowd.

Xhaka’s removal of his Arsenal shirt as he stormed down the tunnel now looks like a symbolic moment – it may well be the last time the Swiss battler dons the Gunners jersey in a competitive fixture.

There is no doubting that the 27-year-old has become something of a lightning rod for the supporters that visit – he is a player that seems to harbour much of the blame when things are not going to plan for Arsenal.

The midfielder has been far from the dominant influence that the Gunners fans would have hoped for when he moved to North London from Borussia Monchengladbach in 2016.

Xhaka has showed signs of quality with his distribution, shooting from range and ability on the ball, but his inconsistency and lack of defensive awareness has been picked up by the Arsenal supporters.

His latest petulance has made the Swiss playmaker a pariah on the terraces and it looks as though he has played his final game for the Premier League club.

The fact that Xhaka has not apologised for his actions to the fans speaks volumes, while the fact of the matter is that he was the club’s captain – hitting back at the supporters is just not acceptable.

Looking at it logically, there are two main reasons why Arsenal should sell the 27-year-old once the transfer window reopens in January – something Betway punters should bet on happening.

Firstly, despite some of the Gunners dressing room still having an affinity with the midfielder, Xhaka’s actions will have split opinions among the squad and his continued presence is a divisive factor that Emery could surely do without.

Secondly, even before the Palace incident, the Swiss playmaker’s performances have been sub-par and the Arsenal team looks more rounded without him in it.

Although Dani Ceballos picked up an injury during the Europa League clash against Vitoria Guimaraes, the Spaniard has been largely impressive this season and looks like a more complete player than Xhaka.

Add the fact that Matteo Guendouzi and Lucas Torreira are in the mix for a midfield starting berth and it is clear that the Swiss international is now surplus to requirements.

Xhaka and Arsenal parting ways in January is the best course of action for all concerned and will be an important reminder that disrespecting a club’s fans will only ever lead to a player’s demise.


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