Arsenal’s players exchanged angry words with each other in a clear-the-air meeting after manager Mikel Arteta called the squad together to identify reasons behind their poor start to the season.
Sources have told ESPN that Arteta assembled the entire first-team group on Tuesday in a bid to address a slump in form that has left them 14th in the Premier League.
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Arteta sought to rally his players and invited a frank exchange of views while also informing them he is continuing to investigate the source of leaks that led to a training ground bust-up between Dani Ceballos and David Luiz becoming public.
Once this first meeting was concluded, the coaching staff left but the players stayed behind to hold an impromptu second discussion by themselves which has been described by multiple sources as “stormy” and “intense.”
Sources claim this second conversation involved an angry but constructive dialogue with “finger-pointing” and raised voices but ended amicably with a firm desire to rally behind Arteta and improve their performances in the Premier League. Arsenal declined to comment when contacted by ESPN.
The Gunners beat Rapid Vienna 4-1 on Thursday with an entirely changed starting lineup and although the team was clearly lifted by the return of 2,000 fans, sources have claimed the increased energy and drive in their display could also be attributed to a renewed determination arising from the meetings earlier in the week.
Arsenal face a huge test in Sunday’s clash at Tottenham with their north London rivals top of the table. The Gunners have won just one of their last five League matches and were beaten 2-1 at home by Wolves last Sunday.
The players were then given Monday off before arriving at the club’s London Colney base on Tuesday for a regular session and the meeting to pinpoint areas of improvement.
Arteta will be hoping for a reaction at Spurs as defeat would put them 11 points adrift of Jose Mourinho’s side.
Speaking to Sky Sports on Friday afternoon, Arteta said: “I think it is the perfect game to get a lift, regenerate some belief in the league because in the other competitions we have been very good but we need a big result and I cannot think about any better scenario than that: to go and beat them and change things dramatically in one game.”