Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta dropped midfielder Matteo Guendouzi in Sunday’s 4-0 win over Newcastle United due to a heated row they had during the club’s winter training camp in Dubai.
The 20-year-old was axed from the 18-man squad after he clashed with Arteta and members of his coaching staff on the training pitch before continuing the face-off at the team hotel later that evening. The Gunners boss replaced the French midfielder with Dani Ceballos in central midfield, which is the Spaniard’s first game this year and his first league appearance since November 2.
Guendouzi has established himself as an integral part of the Arsenal team this season, making 30 appearances in all competitions. But the midfielder has only started twice in the league since Arteta took over the team in December. However, Arsenal are set to hold talks with Guendouzi over a new contract this summer due to his impressive displays.
Under former manager Unia Emery, the French midfielder appeared in every matchday squad since joining from Ligue 2 side FC Lorient in 2018 for just £7.2million. It is, however, surprising that the Frenchman has been dropped from the starting squad.
According to the Telegraph, Arteta was unimpressed with Guendouzi’s body language and attitude during their warm-weather training camp which led to the heated argument. The report added that the midfielder is one of the club’s players that have frowned at Arteta’s demanding approach.
When quizzed asked Arteta about Guendouzi’s absence from the squad, Arteta said that it was regarding his behaviour in training.
Arteta told beIN SPORTS: “The reason is that players who, in my opinion, are training better, behaving better and are more applied to deliver on the pitch what we want, are the players that are selected.”
The Arsenal manager had earlier stressed he would be ruthless and strict to players who are indisciplined because he wants to get the best out of his team. Arteta added that he will keep delivering brutal home truths to his underperforming superstars and constantly questioning their desire and commitment.
Arteta said: “What I’ve mostly learned from Pep (Guardiola) is that you have to be consistently ruthless and you have to fit the culture of the club every day to create a winning mentality.”
It remains to be seen if Arteta would include Guendouzi in his squad for the Europa League trip to Olympiacos on Thursday night.