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.
Xhaka 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.
Emery 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.
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.
‘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.’