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first_imgAdvertisement Unai Emery has been forced to strip Granit Xhaka as the Arsenal captain (Picture: Getty)Unai Emery was not the man responsible for deciding to poll Arsenal’s first team squad in order to determine Laurent Koscielny’s successor as club captain.The long-serving France international’s acrimonious departure forced Emery to select a new skipper, but he delayed confirmation of Granit Xhaka’s appointment until September.Rob Holding, who wore the armband against Virotia in midweek, revealed after the Carabao Cup win over Nottingham Forest he and his fellow players were involved in a secret ballot which saw Xhaka come out on top, ahead of the likes of Hector Bellerin, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Mesut Ozil.AdvertisementAdvertisementXhaka was officially stripped of the captaincy last week following his refusal to fully apologise for his swearing at his own fans against Crystal Palace, with subsequently Aubameyang promoted.ADVERTISEMENTEmery has faced severe criticism for delaying and dithering over Xhaka’s original appointment, but the Daily Mirror reports it was not the Spaniard’s decision to take into account the views of his players. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been promoted to club captain following Granit Xhaka’s demotion (Picture: Getty)That idea was the suggestion of Arsenal’s psychologist David Priestley, the same man who introduced the now customary team huddle before matches led by various members of staff.Last season, ahead of the damaging defeat against Crystal Palace which effectively cost Arsenal Champions League qualification, Ameesh Manek, the man in charge of arranging first team travel arrangements, led the rallying cry.Emery’s side travel to Leicester on Saturday, minus Xhaka who still is not in the right frame of mind to play, knowing defeat would leave them nine points behind the Foxes in the race for the top four heading into the international break.‘This a very big opportunity. After two matches at home that we drew, tomorrow is a very good opportunity. Yesterday the players worked and trained very well with a good spirit and they give me confidence,’ said Emery.More: Arsenal FCArsenal flop Denis Suarez delivers verdict on Thomas Partey and Lucas Torreira movesThomas Partey debut? Ian Wright picks his Arsenal starting XI vs Manchester CityArsene Wenger explains why Mikel Arteta is ‘lucky’ to be managing Arsenal‘The most important is our mentality and going there thinking: ‘We are Arsenal.’ And we will go there with confidence and also strong in our mentality to be together to go to work against them.‘The circumstances – Ozil, Kolasinac, the Laurent Koscielny circumstances and if he was still here then he would still be captain and there would be no problem. But the team inside now, they are strong.‘Is this must-win? Yes. But in our mind, for each match it is only to win.’Will Arsenal beat Leicester?Yes0%No0%It’ll be a draw0%Share your resultsShare your resultsTweet your resultsMORE: Arsene Wenger should have signed Jonny Evans for Arsenal, says Alan SmithMORE: Unai Emery hints Granit Xhaka might not play for Arsenal again ahead of Leicester clash Metro Sport ReporterSaturday 9 Nov 2019 12:23 pmShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link213Shares Comment Advertisement Arsenal’s decision to hold vote to decide club captain wasn’t Unai Emery’s idealast_img read more

first_img From the Hammers’ perspective, the build-up to the trip to Villa Park was clearly overshadowed by attempts to save Carroll from a three-match ban following his clash with Chico Flores in last week’s 2-0 win over Swansea. A three-man Football Association appeals body initially upheld the decision of referee Howard Webb. Instead, it was the visitors who were the more enterprising as Villa failed again to sparkle in front of their own supporters and provide them with some warmth on a bitter and windy afternoon. All bar one of the better chances in the opening 45 minutes fell the way of West Ham, the best of which involved Matt Jarvis. It was his third-minute corner that was glanced wide by James Tomkins before two chances followed just before the half-hour mark. The first saw Jarvis strike one shot into the side-netting, although Ciaran Clark deserved credit for getting a foot in that helped it on its way. The second saw Jarvis seemingly clean through, but this time Nathan Baker nipped at his heels, resulting in the attacker’s effort ending up inches wide. As for Villa, their first-half highlight involved Ashley Westwood firing in a 16-yard volley that flashed just beyond the right-hand post. Following the break Nolan then took centre stage, initially after 15 seconds, albeit courtesy of Stewart Downing’s industry as he turned Ryan Bertrand inside out before delivering a low ball into the heart of the area. Nolan, though, was still artful enough to produce a cheeky flick with the inside of his right foot that took a deflection off Clark, wrong-footing Brad Guzan. For the second goal all the hard work was from Nolan as he robbed a dithering Fabian Delph just outside the area before taking the ball on into the box and stroking it crisply past Guzan. Two goals down, Villa finally woke up, instigated by the 56th-minute arrival of Marc Albrighton for Matt Lowton. With his first touch, a delightful cross in towards Christian Benteke, the Belgian striker was inches away from steering it home. Albrighton then rattled a post from 25 yards with a thunderous strike that clipped the flying Adrian’s right leg on the rebound. On another day it might have ricocheted in, but this time it flew over the net. Benteke then hit the crossbar with a header, conjured an overhead kick that flashed over and produced another header that was wide, but it was all too little too late for Villa as Carroll-less West Ham were left singing all the way back to London. Infuriated, West Ham took the matter further, only for an arbitration panel to insist the suspension should stand. Facing three key matches against relegation rivals without Carroll’s imposing presence, West Ham boss Sam Allardyce feared the worst. Against Aston Villa, he need not have worried, not given the club’s abysmal home record this season, and in particular with the talismanic Nolan riding to his rescue. After scoring twice to defeat the Swans, Nolan made it four goals in two matches as another double was enough to sink hapless Villa. During the opening 45 minutes West Ham always appeared the side most likely to score, and once the interval was out of the way, they did so after just 15 seconds. When Nolan added his and the Hammers’ second just two minutes and 43 seconds later, the game was effectively over. In Villa’s last home match they had come from 2-0 down inside nine minutes to defeat local rivals West Brom 4-3, but looking bereft of ideas on this occasion there was simply no way back. Certainly, it was too much for the home fans to expect another feast of football, especially when you consider, the West Brom game aside, Villa have mustered a miserable eight goals in their other 12 league home games. Captain Kevin Nolan ensured Andy Carroll’s presence was not missed as West Ham climbed out of the relegation zone with a 2-0 win. Press Associationlast_img read more