Granit Xhaka will once again miss out for Arsenal’s “must-win” trip to Leicester on Saturday as the Gunners look to make up ground in the race for the top four.
The midfielder has been absent for the last three matches after telling supporters to “f*** off” as he was jeered after being substituted during a draw against Crystal Palace last month.
He has since been stripped of the captaincy, with the club offering counselling to a player who Unai Emery described as “devastated, sad and very down”.
Xhaka offered something of an apology on Instagram last week but has yet to return to the fold, with Emery confirming he will sit out the trip to the King Power Stadium on Saturday, live on Sky Sports.
Emery’s side have won just four of their 11 Premier League games this season and lie six points behind third-placed Leicester.
Arsenal could drop as low as 10th with defeat on Saturday, and Emery admitted: “Yes – we need to win. It’s very important for us tomorrow.
Leicester vs Arsenal
November 9, 2019, 5:00pm
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“Our mentality every time is to play fast, be strong and win. Each match we only think to win.
“I was speaking with the players on Tuesday about our next steps to improve. There are two ways.
“One is to play better with the ball, play with more confidence in our style and take more responsibility on the pitch.
“The second is our defensive attitude and to be strong. Getting better defensively is the first challenge for tomorrow.”
Leicester’s impressive form so far this season has seen Brendan Rodgers linked with the Arsenal job, with bookmakers listing him as one of the favourites for the role if Emery is dismissed.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Rodgers played down the speculation and said he empathised with the difficulties Emery is facing in north London.
In return, the Spaniard said: “Brendan Rodgers is a very good manager and he is doing very good work. He did it here in England with Swansea and Liverpool and then in Glasgow with Celtic.
“He arrived here last year and his team was improving progressively. This year is no surprise, for me.
“It is a very good team with a very good coach. They are a very organised team.
“The most important thing is to keep the balance. As a coach I learned, in my mind, to be balanced when we win and when we lose.
“We should not play tomorrow under pressure, but play with a big opportunity to change the moment for us.
How to watch Leicester vs Arsenal
Watch Leicester vs Arsenal live on Saturday Night Football from 5pm on Sky Sports Premier League and Main Event; Kick-off 5.30pm.