Arsenal boss Unai Emery has explained his decision to remove Granit Xhaka from the squad which has traveled to Portugal ahead of the clash with Vitoria in the Europa League on Wednesday. 

The Gunners will be playing against Vitoria on Wednesday, as they look to retain top spot in their Europa League group, only two weeks after defeating the Portuguese side 3-2 in a thriller at the Emirates stadium.

Of course, that game which saw Nicolas Pepe score twice after coming off the bench, came only a couple of days before one of the lowest moments of the season against Crystal Palace.

After being jeered during his substitution, Granit Xhaka was involved in a foul-mouthed confrontation with the fans and that has seen him lose his role as captain of the team.

Emery has also confirmed that the 27-year-old has been removed from the squad for the trip to Vitoria and when asked about that decision, the Arsenal boss suggested that Xhaka’s absence is to help ‘protect him’.

“Again, we can do one step more with him. He’s not here today but also I think we need to take time with him, first to protect him and also to be calm and training with us every day. But I was speaking with him this morning and also I decided he’s not one of the captains in our group and I decided that and I told him this morning.” the Arsenal boss said, as per the club’s official website

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