Explained: Why Oleksandr Zinchenko captains Arsenal against Leicester

Oleksandr Zinchenko Arsenal 2022-23Getty
  • Zinchenko captains Arsenal for first time
  • The decision marks 1st anniversary of Ukraine invasion
  • Versatile player has 52 caps for Ukraine

WHAT HAPPENED? Arsenal have released a statement announcing that Oleksandr Zinchenko will captain the side for their Premier League fixture against Leicester today. The game will see the Gunners look to extend their lead at the top of the table to five points, putting the pressure on rivals Manchester City before their clash with Bournemouth.

WHY IS ZINCHENKO CAPTAIN? The decision comes as people around the world mark the first anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which Zinchenko has been a vocal opponent of. Showing solidarity with the player they signed from Manchester City last summer, Arsenal have made the choice to shine a spotlight on their star player and the struggle of his home nation.

WHAT THEY SAID: Shortly before kick-off, Arsenal released a statement that read: "Alex Zinchenko is our captain today, as a mark of respect and love on the first anniversary of the conflict in Ukraine."

The left-back is one of Ukraine's most talented players, with the 26-year-old having represented his country on more than 50 occasions. Despite only joining the Gunners a matter of months ago, it's clear that he's already seen as being one of the key leaders in the dressing room at the Emirates.


Mikel Arteta Oleksandr Zinchenko Arsenal 2022-23Getty ImagesArsenal celebrating Oleksandr Zinchenko goal vs Aston Villa Premier League 2022-23Getty/GOAL

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Zinchenko may have been handed the armband for this fixture, but the man who has donned it for the majority of this season has hardly put a foot wrong. Made skipper at the start of the 2022-23 campaign having signed permanently in summer 2021, Norwegian international Martin Ødegaard has been an outstanding leader the Gunners this season, despite being only 24 years old.

WHAT'S NEXT FOR ARSENAL: Regardless of who's wearing the armband, Arsenal have a serious job on their hands. Opponents Leicester may have been inconsistent throughout this season, but they still boast talents such as James Maddison, Harvey Barnes, and Youri Tielemans. If Arteta can navigate this fixture and remain at the top of the table, he'll be well pleased.

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