Mikel Arteta explains decision to omit Matteo Guendouzi from Arsenal squad vs Southampton

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has this evening provided an insight into his decision to leave Matteo Guendouzi out of his matchday squad to take on Southampton.

Arsenal in front

The Gunners are currently locked in action with Southampton at St. Mary’s, in their latest Premier League outing.

The north Londoners headed into proceedings in desperate need of a morale-boosting bounce-back result, having fallen to consecutive defeats since the return of the English top-flight earlier this month.

And, as things stand, Arteta’s men are on their way to exactly that.

With the interval approaching, Arsenal hold a deserved lead.

After having what looked set to be a go-ahead strike chalked off for offside inside the opening 10 minutes, the lively Eddie Nketiah went on to open the game’s scoring a short time later.

A shocking mistake on the part of Alex McCarthy saw the Southampton shot-stopper inexplicably play the ball directly to the approaching Nketiah, with the young attacker having been left with the simple task of slotting home into an empty net.

Arteta on Guendouzi

The Arsenal XI currently getting the better of Southampton, meanwhile, features a quartet of changes from the one which was downed by Brighton in heartbreaking fashion last weekend.

And it is one of these selection decisions on the part of Mikel Arteta which subsequently proved the major talking point ahead of kick-off.

The change in question saw Matteo Guendouzi drop out of not only Arsenal’s starting line-up, but the club’s matchday squad altogether.

This comes fresh on the back of the young Frenchman’s involvement in an ugly incident following the Gunners’ Brighton defeat.

Guendouzi was caught by cameras grabbing the throat of Seagulls hitman Neal Maupay, after a challenge on the part of his fellow countryman left Bernd Leno with a nasty injury.

The all-action midfielder was also subsequently accused of taunting Brighton’s stars over the disparity between the earnings of the club’s two squads.

As such, speaking in a pre-match interview this evening, Mikel Arteta was inevitably drawn on his decision to leave Guendouzi out, as well as whether it came as a result of the 21-year-old’s recent behaviour.

The Arsenal boss, however, was keen to keep his cards close to his chest, explaining:

‘Squad management. Whatever internal issue we have, we deal with it privately.’

‘The needs of the team and the football club are always the same – put the best players on the pitch who are 100 per cent focused on winning the game.’ 

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This article was edited by Josh Barker.

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Nicolas Pepe3/13/12/1

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