Granit Xhaka's demise at Arsenal is all down to manager Unai Emery

Granit Xhaka was stripped of the Arsenal captaincy by Unai Emery

Granit Xhaka's demise at Arsenal is all but complete.

Unai Emery announced on Tuesday evening that the Swiss midfielder had been stripped of the captaincy after clashing with supporters when he was substituted versus Crystal Palace.

Xhaka infamously strolled off the pitch, told fans to 'f**k off', threw the armband to the floor and stormed down the tunnel.

Once he entered the shadows of that tunnel, Xhaka must have known that his time at the club was all but up.

His reaction to months of undeserved and vile abuse from certain supporters was irreversible and a sale in January is surely the only viable solution to the issue.

Xhaka has to accept he was in the wrong, but the way he has been handled by Emery is the key reason behind his fall from grace at the club.

From being played out of position, having his defensive screen taken away and stupidly being handed the armband, the manager's negligence needs scrutinising.

Because let's not forget, Xhaka is a player with undoubted quality who would thrive under a brave manager who actually implements some kind of playing style.

Xhaka out of position

Xhaka was asked to play left-back away at Palace last season

Prior to Emery's arrival, Xhaka was far from a player exempt from criticism. In fact, he was regularly one of the team's scapegoats.

So when a player with that burden on his shoulders is played in ludicrous positions, things are never, ever going to end well.

Last season, Xhaka was asked to deputise as both a third centre-back and - even more ridiculously - as a left-back.

One look at the former Borussia Monchengladbach man on a pitch will tell you he is simply not built for either of those positions.

His lapses in concentration are made even more deadly at centre-back and it restricts him from doing what he does best - getting on the ball and orchestrating attacks.

Instead, his frailties were left to be unfairly exposed, adding to the wealth of ammunition already possessed by both rival and Arsenal fans.

However, it was Emery's experiment with Xhaka at left-back that attracted the most eye-rolls.

A slow midfielder with inadequate defensive reactions? He really couldn't have nominated a worse candidate to fill in for Nacho Monreal and Sead Kolasinac.

Emery not only chipped away at Xhaka's own confidence, but he exposed him further to a fan base baying for blood - one which didn't exactly view Xhaka through rose-tinted glasses in the first place.

Playing Xhaka at the base of midfield

Xhaka and Torreira were forming a nice partnership

While Emery exposed Xhaka by thinking he was 'Mr. Versatile', the Spaniard saw to it that he was stripped of any protection when he was back in midfield.

At the start of Emery's reign, Xhaka and Lucas Torreira genuinely looked like a midfield pairing capable of leading Arsenal out of the Arsene Wenger era in a positive light.

Torreira was the tenacious defensive screen, while Xhaka was the elegant deep-lying playmaker who kickstarted most attacks.

Arsenal actually looked threatening and Xhaka's critics fell silent for those first few honeymoon months.

So what did Emery do? He decided to try and turn Torreira into a box-to-box midfield and - at times - an unorthodox number 10.

Xhaka was then asked to fill in at the base of midfield, where he has looked a total liability ever since.

With the likes of Torreira, Matteo Guendouzi and Dani Ceballos trying to get forward, Xhaka has been ruthlessly exposed, leading to predictable tweets like 'Xhaka, such a liability'.

But what can a player with his limited skill set do without protection? Not much and it's Emery's fault that opposing attackers have pretty much treated Xhaka like target practice.

If a new manager comes in this season, the first thing he must do is reinstate Torreira - the team's only defensive midfielder - to his natural position, where he thrives for Uruguay.

Why hand him the captaincy?!

Xhaka storms off vs Palace

And finally, the issue which sealed Xhaka's fate.

Regardless of his standing in the dressing room, where he is reportedly a very popular figure, handing him the armband was beyond foolish.

It was a visual responsibility that Xhaka didn't need. The armband is a sacred item in English football and fans look to it for leadership and - when things are going wrong - answers.

The Swiss could have acted the leader on the pitch without being hampered by the demands of donning the armband.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is now the carrier of responsibility and the Gabonese striker is not only a popular option, but one that can shed negativity with ease.

Even if he's dropping a stinker, Aubameyang usually scores or assists, but for Xhaka, he was left to wallow in his negative pool with no means of escape to the naked eye.

Fans don't care if it was his pass in the build-up that led to a goal, the sensationalised error he made when tasked with marshalling four attackers is what sticks in the mind.

Handing Xhaka the captain's armband may have been one last attempt to elevate his status with the fans, but in reality, it was the final nail in his coffin.

Xhaka storms off vs Palace

All of this begs the question; is Emery the right man for Arsenal?

His management of Xhaka has been damaging, he's still squabbling with the club's highest earner (Mesut Ozil) and his 'style' of football is ponderous and weak.

The midfield has no idea how to create and the defence is as porous as it was during Wenger's final days at the helm.

Xhaka's reaction at Crystal Palace ensured his demise, but it should also seal Emery's, even if the Gunners miraculously beat high-flying Leicester on Saturday.

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