A frustrated Mikel Arteta has warned there would be "consequences" for any Arsenal employee who leaked information about an alleged training-ground fracas between Dani Ceballos and David Luiz during the international break.
The players were reported to have come to blows at the end of a session a week ago, with David Luiz said to have taken exception to a challenge from his teammate. Ceballos tweeted that the tale was “fake” and Arteta, who said any issue had been “resolved immediately”, stated there was no problem between the players. But the manager was concerned that such a story could emerge from his camp.
“I don’t like it at all and I will find out where it is coming from,” Arteta said. “And if that is the case, that goes completely against what I expect from each other, the privacy and the confidentiality that we need, and there will be consequences.”
It is another headache in a fortnight that has brought several new problems Arteta’s way. Willian presented another disciplinary conundrum when taking a journey to Dubai, which was explained as a business trip to fulfil image rights obligations but – given he was pictured outside a restaurant on social media – did not present a good look ad Covid-19 restrictions.
Arteta did not elaborate on whether Willian had been punished, simply saying the situation had been “dealt with in the right way” and the pair “had a conversation and I explained what I expected”.
Willian should be available for tomorrow’s game at Leeds but Sead Kolasinac and Mohamed Elneny will be missing after testing positive for Covid-19 on international duty.
Elneny’s absence is a particular blow given his fellow midfielder Thomas Partey is yet to overcome a thigh injury. Partey’s prognosis is unclear and Arteta said it was “an area where we have to be a bit careful”.
Losing to Aston Villa on November 8th, having won at Old Trafford the previous week, highlighted the inconsistency that dogs Arsenal 11 months into Arteta’s reign.
“There are a lot of things to change and improve,” he said. “It’s going to be a bumpy road.”