You’ve probably heard or read somewhere by now that there were some disciplinary issues with Matteo Guendouzi during Arsenal’s winter-break trip to Dubai, after which the midfielder was dropped for the Newcastle encounter. In his weekly column for The Athletic, David Ornstein has thrown some light on what happened there.
Apparently, Guendouzi was involved in a row with another player (whom Ornstein doesn’t name), after which manager Mikel Arteta spoke sharply to both culprits. However, it was Guendouzi who received a stronger reprimand, with Arteta perceiving him as the more guilty party.
But it seems the earful the young Frenchman received from the boss didn’t do enough in terms of making him pay more attention to his attitude. There was a second ‘incident’ when the team were together enjoying a music event, and Guendouzi felt compelled to show his support for it by taking his shirt off and waving it around. This time it was not Arteta who reacted, but technical director Edu, which Ornstein believes showed unity of Arsenal’s hierarchy on matters of discipline in the squad. Since Arteta took over, there has notably been more cohesion between the players on the pitch, the results in the last two games show it best, as well as away from the game, as per a number of players who have spoken about it recently.
However, it obviously remains important not to break a certain code of conduct which comes with wearing the Arsenal badge, and though some will feel that a player taking off his shirt at a public event isn’t a big deal, it’s certainly good for the team and the club’s image that these rules are being upheld with a large dose of responsibility applied.
On the other hand, the club are aware that Guendouzi is still a very young lad with a lot of time to grow, and they are adamant that he remains an important member of the squad with a potential to become a great player.