Arsenal midfielder Lucas Torreira was almost moved to tears as team-mate Granit Xhaka was booed off the Emirates turf by home fans.
Xhaka, often criticised for his poor performances in central midfield, catalysed the toxicity around the ground by chucking the captain’s armband to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, trudging off the pitch cupping his ear, appearing to tell the home fans to “f*** off” and taking off his shirt before heading straight down the tunnel.
The atmosphere at Emirates was the most toxic it has been since the ill-fated late days of Arsene Wenger’s reign, and it was all too much to take for Torreira.
The combative midfielder was warming up on the touchline as his friend and team-mate departed the pitch and was almost moved to tears at what he was seeing.
He is said to have turned to the booing home fans who lined the tunnel in a state of disbelief and stretched out his arms to question some of their actions.
Fellow substitute Hector Bellerin, who was the first senior player to break silence on the incident, came over to console the Uruguayan and Unai Emery also embraced the player.
Xhaka has long been a scapegoat of Arsenal fans for his poor discipline and particular ineptness in defensive duties.
Fans reacted angrily as the Swiss international was named club captain by Emery, who conducted a players’ vote to help him decide.
The Spanish coach has stood by his skipper, who is one of his first names on the team-sheet, but did not condone his actions on Sunday.
“He was wrong,” Emery said. “We need to stay calm, speak to him internally about that.
“We are working with the club and the players to play under pressure. We are going to speak with him because the reaction was wrong.
“We are here because we have supporters. We work for them and need to have respect for them when they are applauding us and criticising us.”
Club officials are expected to hold talks over what action to take with their captain.