Granit Xhaka feared another wave of abuse was coming his way when he was sent off against Burnley, Mikel Arteta has revealed.
The Swiss midfielder was dismissed as the Gunners went down 1-0 to the Clarets back in December.
Frustration was growing as the north London outfit endured a poor winless run.
He reacted as the crowd jeered him which ultimately saw him stripped of the captaincy.
Fans were not present when he was sent-off against Burnley, but Xhaka was still worried about the backlash.
“He has had two big episodes,” said the Arsenal boss.
“You can maybe overcome one of those, but I think the second time it really shocks you and he said: ‘I don’t want to go through that again’.
“But this is why we are here, to try to support our players. I think the club was exceptional giving him all the support.
“We try to do the same, the team-mates did the same, and he has come through again.
“Now he is getting a lot of praise, the way he is playing, and it is down to his character. It is down to as well how much he wants to succeed at the club.”
Xhaka was linked with an Arsenal exit before Arteta persuaded him to stay.
The Gunners boss has spoken highly of the midfielder and, even in their defeat at Wolves, still felt he was a positive.
“I thought he was excellent,” said the Spaniard. “He has been really consistent. I think he is improving game by game.
“Then there is his leadership level as well, he has matured a lot as a player and he has got a big importance in that dressing room.
“On the pitch, I think he is doing things much, much better than before as well.”