Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang sends message to Arsenal fans over Granit Xhaka

Granit Xhaka hasn’t made an appearance for Arsenal since his outburst against Crystal Palace (Picture: Getty)

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has urged Arsenal fans to rally behind Granit Xhaka after admitting he inherited the captaincy in difficult circumstances.

The Switerland international has missed the last five matches in all competitions having been stripped of the armband after he swore at his own supporters during the recent draw against Crystal Palace.

Unai Emery hinted the 27-year-old was ready to make his return against Southampton this afternoon having ruled himself out of contention for selection ahead of the defeat at Leicester prior to the international break.

‘He’s coming back better,’ confirmed the Arsenal manager in his pre-match press conference. ‘His mindset is better and this morning I have a very good conversation with him.

‘My objective is for him to come back helping us and convincing everyone that he is going to be better in the short or long future with us.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has replaced Unai Emery as Arsenal captain (Picture: Getty)

‘He’s feeling better and his team is Arsenal now. He wants to come back with the confidence of the supporters.’

Aubameyang, meanwhile, will lead his team out as skipper at home for the first time at the Emirates this afternoon and hopes supporters can build bridges with the man he replaced.

‘I took over from Granit in tough circumstances but I am very proud to be wearing the armband,’ said the Gabon international. ‘It is an honour. It comes with a lot of responsibilities but I feel I can do a great job.

‘I would like to also say a word for Granit. I understand that sometimes one can make mistakes. It happens to all of us. Granit is one of us. We are all here for him and I know how strong he is. It was tough to see all of this happening but we need to move forward together.

‘This is my message for you Arsenal fans. We need you. You are amazing, your support is amazing and we need to all pull in the same direction. I really hope you will be massively behind us today and for the rest of the season.’

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