It seemed like the point of no return for Granit Xhaka. As he walked off the pitch, substituted in the second half of a Premier League game against Crystal Palace, the boos rang out around the Emirates stadium.
In response, Xhaka cupped a hand to his ear, shouted “f*** off” and then stormed down the tunnel, clearly furious. Predictably, that created a rift between the player and his fans.
Things didn’t improve immediately after the incident. The midfielder was dropped from Unai Emery’s squad for the following game against Wolves, and was soon stripped of the captaincy.
Almost exactly a year on, though, it is as if nothing happened. Xhaka is back in the first team, revitalised and refocused. Perhaps that’s because so much has happened in the months since, not just at Arsenal but in football - and the world - as a whole. Perhaps the situation was blown out of proportion, exaggerated as so many things in the sport are.
Either way, Xhaka is now established at Arsenal again, no longer a target of fans’ scorn.
“The first is the person. The human, like everyone, feels,” Emery said after the fateful Palace game. “Xhaka's issues last week is one issue that needs time. He needs time to recover the normality in him.”
Time has proved a great healer for the 27-year-old, although it might not have been the case had things not fallen into place as they did.
Xhaka almost certainly benefited more than most from Emery’s dismissal in November last year. The arrival of Mikel Arteta represented the opportunity for a fresh start in a new system, and as Xhaka’s performances picked up, so did the results.
“Everyone knows what happened with me and the fans. It was not a nice time,” the Switzerland international told BT Sport in August.
“Sometimes this happens in life, maybe sometimes you need this to be back in reality and say ‘listen, I have to work more’.
“I was very, very close to leaving the club. Until this time, I had very great moments with the football club but after that, I was of course a bit down.
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“But then Mikel came, I had a very good meeting with him. It was never in my mind to leave the club. Of course, you think about it but Mikel was the guy, he turned it around and gave me a second chance.
“He trusted me and I try to give him everything back. If the coach, if the boss says something like that, it makes me happy. Maybe there are people that don’t see my work outside the pitch but he’s there every day with us.
“I try only to do my best for the club first, then also for myself. He gave me the trust, he gave me belief again in myself and at the moment, I’m more than happy.”
That trust from Arteta has proved crucial. Xhaka, quite clearly, is an emotional, temperamental player. If he is not in the right frame of mind, things don’t generally go well.
Having the support of his manager, then, has allowed Xhaka to play with consistency and confidence, no longer concerned that he might lose his place in the team or be hauled off to resounding jeers.
It might also have helped that fans have not been able to attend games since March, and that Xhaka was part of an FA Cup and Community Shield winning team in the weeks after lockdown.
A relationship between player and club has been restored. Last year’s incident has been consigned to history, and everyone at Arsenal looks ready to move on.