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Arsenal's Cursed Captaincy

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From William Gallas to Granit Xhaka, the curse of the Arsenal captaincy continues.... Granit Xhaka has thrown his future as Arsenal captain into doubt with his outburst at the Emirates Stadium during the 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace.
The 27-year-old reacted angrily to his second-half substitution, cupping his ear towards the jeering home crowd as he walked slowly from the pitch before removing his shirt and storming straight down the tunnel. Arsenal captaincy has been dogged by difficulties for more than a decade. 

Below are some of the old Club's Captain;

William Gallas
The problems began when Arsene Wenger handed the armband to William Gallas following Thierry Henry's departure in August 2007. It was not a popular decision among supporters and it went down poorly in the dressing room too. Arsenal started the season strongly, but it all unravelled during a fateful 2-2 draw with Birmingham City in February, when Gallas reacted furiously to Gael Clichy's late concession of a penalty and staged a sit-down protest in the centre circle at St Andrew's after the final whistle. His behaviour was heavily criticised, with Lehmann likening the defender to a "sulky child" and revealing he clashed with Gilberto Silva in the dressing room afterwards. Gallas kept hold of the captaincy initially, but was stripped of the armband after criticising team-mates in November 2008.

Robin van Persie
Robin van Persie's captaincy was a similar story - although it left a far more bitter aftertaste. The Dutchman, who finally seemed to have put his injury issues behind him in the previous campaign, produced the best season of his career as Arsenal's captain in 2011/12, scoring 30 Premier League goals and scooping the domestic player of the year awards. But it soon became apparent that he was unwilling to sign a new contract, leaving Arsenal with little choice but to cash in before losing him for nothing a year later. His decision to join Manchester United, and the publication of an ill-judged statement, was met with predictable fury by supporters.

Thomas Vermaelen
The decision to name Thomas Vermaelen as captain seemed logical at the time, but the Belgian's form suffered after he took the armband in the 2012/13 season, eventually costing him his place in the side as Wenger favoured a centre-back pairing of Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny.
Vermaelen remained club captain in the following season, but he struggled to recapture his best form and his efforts to win back his place in the team were not helped by injury issues. He departed for Barcelona in 2014 having only made 21 appearances in his final campaign in north London.

Mikel Arteta
Mikel Arteta helped Arsenal through a difficult period following his arrival from Everton in 2011, but his captaincy, confirmed after Vermaelen's departure in August of 2014, was blighted by injury. The Spaniard only made 11 starts in the 2014/15 season due to a calf injury, and while he did sign a one-year contract extension ahead of the following campaign, his fitness problems persisted, limiting him to only two starts in all competitions all season. He made his final appearance as a substitute on the final day of the campaign before turning down an offer to join the Arsenal coaching staff in order to work with Pep Guardiola's at Manchester City.

Per Mertesacker
Arsenal fans were left scratching their heads when Wenger opted to hand the armband to Per Mertesacker in the summer of 2016, despite the centre-back being sidelined by a serious knee injury. The German was a fan favourite who had been a loyal servant to the club, but his injury problems meant that, in two years as Arsenal's captain, he only made 14 appearances. That total included a man-of-the-match showing in the 2017 FA Cup final win over Chelsea, but Mertesacker retired a year later and now heads up the club's academy.

Laurent Koscielny
Before Granit Xhaka, there was Laurent Koscielny. Like Mertesacker, the centre-back was injured when he was appointed as captain in August of last year, but he did at least return to fitness in the second half of the campaign, helping Unai Emery's side reach the Europa League final and putting his body on the line to help the team. The Frenchman was viewed as a model professional after almost a decade of distinguished service, but he reacted angrily when a transfer request was rejected in July, refusing to join the club's pre-season tour and eventually forcing through a move to Bordeaux. His exit paved the way for Xhaka to take over, but the midfielder's Emirates outburst has left many fans wondering whether he should follow in his predecessor's footsteps.

The curse of the Arsenal captaincy continues.....

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