Patrice Evra has revealed that Arsenal legend Thierry Henry once ‘turned off the television’ after seeing Granit Xhaka lead the Gunners out onto the pitch as captain.
The Arsenal midfielder was sent off for grabbing Burnley‘s Ashley Westwood around the neck during the second-half of the Premier League encounter on Sunday night.
Granit Xhaka lost his cool by grabbing Ashley Westwood by the neck on Sunday evening
After a VAR check the former Arsenal captain was given his marching orders for his actions
Patrice Evra recalled a story about Thierry Henry’s feelings on Xhaka after Arsenal’s defeat
After the game Evra slammed the Swiss midfielder, and recalled a story about Henry’s feelings on the 28-year-old, which he said sums up how ‘legends of the club feel about him’.
Evra said during the post-match Sky Sports coverage: ‘We’re talking about Xhaka, I will tell you a quick story. Thierry Henry one day invited me to his house, he said “come Patrice, we’re going to watch the Arsenal game”.
‘He turned on the TV. The first image we saw on the screen it was Xhaka leading Arsenal, being the captain – Thierry Henry turned off the TV.
‘I said “What’s happened?”. He said “I can’t watch my team and Xhaka being the captain of my team”, and we didn’t watch the game.
‘We started talking about many things and he turned off the screen. It tells you everything of what the legends of this club think about him. He again let down his team.
‘We criticised Pepe so much, but Xhaka’s it’s not the first time. I remember even two years ago I made a comment about Arsenal saying the team look like babies and he came out “Patrice Evra it’s not the first time he spoke about us”.
‘I remember the next game, he gets substituted or he gets off and he takes off his shirt and he throws it on the floor. So, we had enough of Xhaka. I think Arsenal fans have had enough of him.’
Sky Sports presenter David Jones in response to Evra’s comments said: ‘Well Thierry is not here to confirm that story so maybe we just have to be a little bit careful with that.’
It is by no means the first time Evra has slammed Xhaka or Arsenal, labelling them as babies after a 1-0 defeat to Sheffield United last season.
Evra claims Henry turned the television off when Xhaka led Arsenal out as captain one game
He told Sky Sports at the time: ‘They (Sheffield United) deserved the win but I’m not surprised about Arsenal. ‘ used to call them “my babies” ten years ago and they’re still babies when I look at them.
‘I’m not being disrespectful when I say that, it’s just the feeling I’ve got with this team.’
Xhaka captained the side on that day, which was a week before the fateful 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace which Arsenal gave away a 2-0 lead.
The game saw Xhaka involved in an angry confrontation with his own supporters after he angrily reacted to jeers by the Arsenal supporters when he was taken off after the hour mark.
He cupped his ears sarcastically to the fans and took his shirt off in a game which at the time seemed to mark the end of his Arsenal career.
Xhaka went on to lose the captaincy but would later return back to the first-team squad.
Following his actions against Burnley, Xhaka was also slammed by Evra’s fellow Sky Sports pundit Graeme Souness.
His time at Arsenal has been tumultuous, losing his captaincy after a defeat to Crystal Palace
He said: ‘People say in the modern game, in the game at any time, he’s fouled him. Just accept that’s going to be a yellow card. It’s a lunge, I was late and then he gets involved in that nonsense.
‘And then Westwood trips him up accidentally and then he (Xhaka) grabs Westwood by the neck and the referee’s a yard away. It’s stuff you see in the playground.
‘When he sees that – he trips over Westwood. I’m trying to put myself in that situation, you feel you’ve been pushed over on purpose, but his reaction is totally wrong. His very first action is a foul and a yellow card because he’s clumsy and he’s not on toes thinking about the situation.
‘I’m caught flat-footed, I’ll have a lunge here. Why do you want to square up? Go away thinking it’s a foul, I’ll take this on the chin, but to get involved in that. I said about this guy a couple of years ago – he was running back and he went to ground.’
Arsenal fell to defeat after an own goal by their main striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Henry is one of Arsenal’s biggest legends and is their record goalscorer after netting 228 goals in 377 appearances.
The Frenchman was captain of the Gunners himself during the 2005-06 season following Patrick Vieira’s departure from the club.
Xhaka’s sending off didn’t help Arsenal who fell to a late defeat and sit in 15th in the Premier League.
The loss mounts more pressure on manager Mikel Arteta who has struggled to get his Gunners firing so far this season.