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Unai Emery reveals that Granit Xhaka could return to the Arsenal team against Southampton


Xhaka has not played for the Gunners since he clashed with sections of the Emirates Stadium crowd during last month’s 2-2 draw withCrystal Palace.

Emery stripped the Swiss midfielder of the captaincy following the incident, before omitting him from the team againstLiverpoolin the EFL Cup andLeicesterin the Premier League.

But the Arsenal boss has revealed that Xhaka could return to the fold againstSouthamptonon Saturday.

“He’s feeling better and also he’s feeling his team is Arsenal now and he wants to regain the confidence of our supporters,” Emery told reporters. “Little by little, we can help him to come back and connect again with us and our supporters.

“We are going to decide tomorrow [if he’ll play] but I want to do that comeback giving him confidence, making him comfortable, and [at a time] when we can connect with our supporters in a good moment, a good performance and also being strong with them.”

Emery has come under heavy pressure since Arsenal fell nine points adrift of the Champions League qualification spot after a 2-0 defeat by Leicester before the international break.

And the under-fire Spaniard has recognised the need for his team to win back the club’s fans, many of whom have grown disillusioned with the team.

“For me and for the players… We are going to start again, achieving our objective, thinking how we can reduce little by little the distance with the top four,” he added. 

“Above all we need to connect with our supporters by playing better, being in control of the game for 90 minutes with our personality and characteristics, and we haven’t done this at the Emirates. Hopefully Saturday we can change that.”

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