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Arsenal's Emery could recall Xhaka for Saints clash

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By Reuters
Arsenal's Emery could recall Xhaka for Saints clash
FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Euro 2020 Qualifier - Group D - Gibraltar v Switzerland - Victoria Stadium, Gibraltar - November 18, 2019 Switzerland's Granit Xhaka before the match REUTERS/Jon Nazca   -   Copyright  JON NAZCA(Reuters)

(Reuters) – Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka, who was stripped of the captaincy for swearing at supporters last month, could return to the team when they host Southampton in the Premier League on Saturday, manager Unai Emery said.

Xhaka has not played for the club since the Oct. 27 bust-up at the Emirates following a 2-2 draw against Crystal Palace with Emery later saying he was unsure about the Swiss international’s future at the club.

“He’s feeling better and his team is Arsenal now. He wants to come back with the confidence of the supporters,” Emery told a news conference on Thursday.

“I’ve (had) a very good conversation with him. My objective is for him to come back helping us and convincing everyone that he’s going to be better in the short or long future with us.

“We are going to decide tomorrow (if he plays) but I want to give him confidence and comfort.”

Arsenal are winless in four league games having lost 2-0 at Leicester City last time out and Emery said he would not take 19th-placed Southampton lightly.

“I’m optimistic and I know we need to improve performances. Above all we need to play better, control the game. We are not losing at home but we are not convincing people,” Emery said.

“Every team is difficult in the Premier League. Southampton need points and are playing better away from home. I think they will be motivated but we need to impose and show our gameplan.

“We respect them but we have confidence in our capacity which is improving.”

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis)