Mikel Arteta was apparently ‘not impressed’ by Matteo Guendouzi during Arsenal’s mid-season break, following his decision to drop the midfielder for the club’s weekend win over Newcastle.
Guendouzi was not included in the club’s matchday squad for the 4-0 victory on Sunday, Arteta telling Sky Sports prior to the clash that the youngster had been omitted for ‘tactical’ reasons.
According to the Mirror though, the decision to drop the 20-year-old came following his performances during the Gunners’ mid-season break to Dubai, Arteta having been left unimpressed by the midfielder’s work rate during the club’s warm-weather camp.
The Arsenal head coach is said to have made it clear in no uncertain terms that he will pick his side based on their performance in training, with the on-loan Dani Ceballos preferred against Steve Bruce’s side yesterday.
Ceballos has found himself on the fringes of the first-team since Arteta’s arrival at the club in December but impressed having been handed his opportunity, starring at the heart of the side as goals from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Nicolas Pepe, Mesut Ozil and Alexandre Lacazette secured a comprehensive victory.
Arteta spoke glowingly about the commitment Ceballos has shown in recent weeks, the 23-year-old having worked hard to return to full fitness and earn an opportunity in his side.
Speaking post-match, Arteta said: “Dani Ceballos is a good example. He was injured and when he started to train I didn’t think he was fit enough.
“He completely changed his behaviour and trained like an animal. I thought he was the best player on the pitch.”