Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta appears to have turned a corner after back-to-back wins over Chelsea and Brighton but tensions continue to simmer beneath the surface, with one player challenging the Spanish coach at a recent team meeting.
Arteta made a huge statement by leaving Mesut Ozil out of his Premier League and Europa League plans at the start of this campaign and he expects ‘a lot of players’ to leave this January.
But, many unhappy squad members including Ozil – will remain at the club until the end of the season which has inevitably caused friction.
The Daily Mirror claims one ‘disaffected’ senior star even challenged the manager in front of his team-mates.
It’s claimed the unnamed individual questioned Arteta’s approach and why other first-team players are being treated differently this campaign. And this paints a picture of a fractured Arsenal dressing room, despite the club’s recent upturn in form.
On Thursday, Sead Kolasinac completed a six-month loan move to Schalke and some other players are expected to follow the Bosnian out the exit door at the Emirates this January window.
Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Calum Chambers are among those deemed surplus to requirements at the club and both players are hoping to secure moves before the end of the January transfer window.
Arsenal will be desperate to get the new year off to a positive start when they play 19th-placed West Brom this weekend.
Asked what he’s made of the Baggies under the new manager Sam Allardyce, Mikel Arteta said: ‘Well, two very different matches.
‘The first one against Liverpool, when they had a really clear plan and they executed it really good.
‘I think even going 1-0 they didn’t really change anything at all. They knew they were gonna have their moments. They grew and they got into the game, and were much more efficient in the second half and put Liverpool in trouble.
‘Sam is very efficient at what he does. He has a very clear philosophy of playing, he always picked up results, he always made it really difficult for you and it’s not gonna be different.
‘His teams are always organised and they know exactly what to do so, it will be a tough test again.’