The last international break this year may be over, but Arsenal’s problems don’t seem to be. The situation with Mesut Ozil, completely frozen out of the team while under a £350,000-per-week contract, and the relatively recent disciplinary issues with Matteo Guendouzi which eventually saw the French midfielder sent out on loan are problems hard enough in themselves. On top of that, Mohamed Elneny and Sead Kolasinac have both tested positive for Covid-19 while with their respective national teams. And now this.
As reported exclusively by David Ornstein of The Athletic, David Luiz and Dani Ceballos had a rather fiery altercation in a training session while most of their teammates were away on international duty. Apparently, the Spanish midfielder had put in a tackle on Luiz which the Brazilian defender did not take too kindly to and wasn’t able to resist retaliating. Luiz hit Ceballos on the nose, drawing blood and knocking the 24-year-old down. By the time Ceballos got back up and squared up to Luiz, the rest of the players and the staff present had already stepped in between them to calm the situation down.
A three-day rest followed the incident, and Arteta had hoped the tension between the two players would have cooled down by then. He then spoke to both of them in the dressing room and then left them to find a common tongue on their own. Luiz and Ceballos apologized to the rest of the team, but Ornstein’s report doesn’t say if they apologized to each other.
Nonetheless, it does say that the incident is believed to have left no long-term consequences, and that the conflict was a side-effect of a competitive spirit in the team which Arteta wants; though he wants his players to direct that energy to the proper channels.
It is to be hoped that Luiz and Ceballos have put their differences aside and made full peace between them, because the team will certainly need all hands on deck to be able to ride the challenges which await through the rest of the season.