Unai Emery praises Granit Xhaka’s performance and thanks fans for ‘helping’ Arsenal midfielder

Unai Emery was pleased with Granit Xhaka’s display in Arsenal’s defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt (Picture: Getty)

Unai Emery praised Granit Xhaka’s display in the aftermath of Arsenal’s woeful 2-1 defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt and thanked fans for supporting the midfielder.

Xhaka was making his first appearance since his sweary outburst at fans last month but it was an evening to forget for the Swiss as Arsenal extended their winless run to seven games.

The Gunners only needed a draw to secure a place in the Europa League knockout stages and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang put them ahead right on half-time in front of a half-empty Emirates.

However, a pair of lethal strikes from Daichi Kamada after the break secured a memorable win for the visitors to heap even more pressure on Emery.

Emery appeared close to tears on the touchline during the second half (Picture: Getty)

Boos rang out around the ground as Kamada struck home his second goal and Arsenal’s increasingly agitated support once again made their feelings known as Emery and his players made their way off the field.

Emery is reportedly in a desperate battle to keep his job ahead of this weekend’s trip to Norwich, with Nuno Espirito Santo being lined up as a possible replacement.

Xhaka demanded to play on through the pain (Picture: Getty)

Xhaka looked like he may have to be replaced towards the end of the first half after going down with a knock to his knee.

However, the Switzerland international demanded to play on through the pain and remained on the pitch for the entire 90 minutes.

‘It’s very good news with Granit. We played well and the supporters helped him and I think it’s good news,’ Emery said.

The Spaniard added: ‘Xhaka wanted to continue playing.

‘His match today was good and he helped the team.

‘I am being positive but I’m also realistic and we lost against a good opponent.

‘We have improved from our last match and we are still first and have the opportunity to qualify, but we missed the opportunity tonight.’

Kamada was Eintracht’s hero at the Emirates (Picture: Getty)

Martin Keown suggested that Emery may consider stepping down as manager following the defeat.

‘I think he may well have taken the team as far as he can,’ he said on BT Sport.

‘We just witnessed an absolute shambles of a performance, the team motivation, the team selection, the performance, the subs, it was dreadful.

‘The fans turned many years ago on Terry Neil, things got toxic, we’re getting close to that again. Is he able to motivate the team? He seems to have lost the players.

‘The desire has ebbed away. The subs he made – you’ve got Nicolas Pepe and Alexandre Lacazette sitting on the bench when you’re trying to get back into the game.

‘He might even feel he needs to step aside now. Change was needed under Wenger but now it looks like the club need to go in another direction again. This is relegation form.

‘Do the club really realise how tricky this is going to be? Decisions have to be made otherwise they are going to plunge even further down the table.

‘It’s a sad day because we still love the club. It’s sad watching it

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