Soccer

Arsenal staff left angry by Mikel Arteta after Willian decision

Willian reveals David Luiz told him to ‘come to Arsenal’

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta angered some members of Arsenal staff with his decision to start Willian against Leeds United last month, according to reports. Willian took an unauthorised trip to Dubai during the last international break in November after not being called up to the Brazil squad. The 33-year-old had to return a negative coronavirus test before he was allowed to return to the club’s training ground.

At the time, Arteta said he would deal with the incident internally.

Willian started Arsenal’s next game, the 0-0 draw at Elland Road on November 22.

The Brazilian was given the nod ahead of the likes of academy graduate Reiss Nelson and strikers Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah.

And that has seemingly not gone down well with people at the club.

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The Athletic say there was anger at the decision to play Willian from the start.

Some believed other players had been treated more harshly for less serious offences.

Ill-discipline has become a problem for Arteta’s side, who have received seven red cards since he became head coach last December.

The latest sending off was for summer signing Gabriel Magalhaes in Wednesday’s 1-1 draw with Southampton.

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Speaking on Willian last month, Arteta insisted he would deal with the matter behind closed doors.

The winger has started three matches since the draw with Leeds.

“I don’t confirm anything, that only it is an issue that has been resolved, explained and let’s move on,” Arteta said in November.

“Whatever happens internally with any issues, or things that we don’t expect, always we will try them internally. That has been dealt with and explained, and we move on.

“We had a conversation and I explained what I was expecting.

“There are a lot of personal factors at the moment and as well from our side we need to be in their shoes.

“A lot of players are having different issues, like any public person out there, and sometimes they make decisions based on the needs or the moment or what people are expecting from them.

“Whether they are right or wrong, after obviously it is a thing we have to discuss. But, again, it has been dealt in the right way and let’s move on.”

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