The 27-year-old midfielder was missing as the Gunners suffered a 2-1 defeat at Emirates Stadium, but the coach says it was down to illness
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta insists he does not want Granit Xhaka to leave the club, clarifying that illness kept the midfielder out of Sunday’s match against Chelsea.
Xhaka was absent as the Gunners went 2-1 down at home to the Blues, raising questions over his future at the club.
The 27-year-old’s place has been in doubt since he was stripped of the Arsenal captaincy after a clash with fans when he was substituted in the 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace in October.
The incident saw Xhaka left out of the squad for seven matches in all competitions by former coach Unai Emery, but returned to the fold in late-November.
Arteta revealed shortly after he replaced Emery at the helm of the north London club that the Switzerland international had been part of Manchester City’s transfer list before he moved to the Premier League, hailing him as a “terrific player”.
The Spaniard selected the midfielder for his first game in charge – a 1-1 draw against Bournemouth – but he was not part of the squad for the headline clash against their London rivals.
And Arteta confirmed after the game that he was not available to line up against Frank Lampard’s men in their last game of 2019.
“He played at Bournemouth, he played really well, he was very committed, he played a really good game,” Arteta told reporters when asked about Xhaka’s absence.
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“After the game he started to feel ill. He had a temperature and he wasn’t feeling good. The last two days he’s been in bed. That’s why he’s not been selected.”
When asked if the ex-Borussia Monchengladbach star wants to leave the club in January, Arteta replied: “I hope not.”
Xhaka, who joined Arsenal in 2016, has made 150 appearances for the club in all competitions and has a contract that runs until 2023.
Arteta also touched on Calum Chambers’ condition after the centre-back was taken off with an injury in the first-half of the game just 10 minutes after he set up Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s opening goal.
“The doctors are assessing him,” he said. “The first feeling he got, it wasn’t very positive.”