Mattéo Guendouzi had a ‘heated row’ with Mikel Arteta during the club’s training camp in Dubai, leading to his surprise omission from the matchday squad to face Newcastle on Sunday.
Many assumed the French midfielder, who had been named in every one of Arsenal’s Premier League matchday squads since the beginning of last season, was thought to have suffered from an injury when he was nowhere to be seen on the team sheet, but Arteta explained he was left out for ‘tactical reasons’.
Guendouzi was fully fit today. Arteta said in comments to broadcasters after the game that others were “training better, behaving better and are more applied to deliver on the pitch”.
— James Benge (@jamesbenge) February 16, 2020
While his serious tone suggested there may have been more to the situation than meets the eye, it was clear the Gunners didn’t miss the 20-year-old too badly. With Dani Ceballos returning in his stead, they trounced Newcastle with a confidence-boosting 4-0 victory, somewhat justifying a bold decision to leave out one of the club’s most coveted assets.
And in a report that gives us a better insight than Arteta’s brief explanation, The Telegraph now say that there was a heated argument between the player and the coach which began on the training pitch in Dubai and continued into the team hotel later that day.
At the centre of the row is said to be Guendouzi’s training performances, with the midfielder not meeting the standards demanded by Arteta, who was not afraid to let him know he had fallen short.
After the match, Arteta (as quoted by the Mirror) pointed to Ceballos as an example of what he expects on the training pitch.
“He completely changed his behaviour and trained like an animal. I thought he was the best player on the pitch.”
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