According to the Telegraph, Mikel Arteta’s decision to drop Matteo Guendouzi for Sunday’s 4-0 win over Newcastle came after a bust-up with the player during Arsenal’s winter break training camp in Dubai.
Aside from the Carabao Cup game with Nottingham Forest in later September, the 20-year-old midfielder had, until yesterday, been included in every matchday squad this season. Under Unai Emery, who helped sign him, he even started 14 consecutive games in the Premier League and earned a call-up to the France senior squad.
Life under interim coach Freddie Ljungberg and his successor Arteta has been less harmonious with Guendouzi starting just three of the last 12 league games. As a youngster, temperamental form can be forgiven, especially given the new tactics being implemented, but it sounds as though it’s his behaviour that has been more of a concern.
Asked in his post-game press conference why Guendouzi was not in the squad, Arteta said: “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 report claims that an angry exchange took place in training between Guendouzi, Arteta and the other coaching staff after they were left unimpressed with the player’s attitude and body language in Dubai. It’s also suggested that the matter didn’t end there with frustrations also boiling over back at the hotel.
It sounds as though the Frenchman just needs to knuckle down and all will be forgiven; as evidenced by the fact Dani Ceballos, whose commitment had also been questioned, was restored to the starting lineup yesterday after training well.