A somewhat disturbing report came from the Telegraph on Monday which details the real reason why Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta dropped Matteo Guendouzi ahead of his side’s 4-0 win over Newcastle United the day before. The report claims Guendouzi was dropped due to a row between him and the manager.
However, in the grand scheme, this is good news for the club. Here is why.
Why The Matteo Guendouzi Issue Is Not An Issue
Mikel Arteta cut his coaching teeth alongside one of the all-time greats in Pep Guardiola. The elder Spaniard is known for his demanding philosophy which requires total commitment from each and every player. The younger Spaniard seems to have taken this attribute and made it his own.
Arteta is making it clear that the onus is on the players to conform to his way of playing. That stands in stark contrast to long-serving manager Arsene Wenger, who is known to have indulged players at times.
It is also a shift from Unai Emery. The former head coach originally stood firm on Mesut Ozil, keeping him out of not only the team but the squad entirely for weeks at a time. However, once results soured Emery went back on his decision and re-introduced Ozil.
That was likely a major factor in him losing the dressing room for his final days in charge. Simply put, the players knew that he wasn’t going to necessarily stick to his proverbial guns. That only served to weaken Emery’s authority at the club.
For now at least, Mikel Arteta is not making either of those same mistakes as Arsenal boss. Just ask Matteo Guendouzi.
While no one really knows what the row was about, we do know the coach took decisive action. And the Matteo Guendouzi isn’t the first [or last] time we’ve seen that this season.
The latter decision certainly wasn’t caused by a training ground incident but it does show that when the difficult decision need to be made, Arteta won’t shy away from them.
Also remember the 0-0 draw with Burnley just before the winter break. With the scores locked and 63 minutes gone, what substitution does Mikel Arteta make? He takes off Ozil for one Joe Willock to try and force a result.
Simply put, plan A didn’t work so Arteta made a change to try and make something else happen. There are plenty of coaches in world football who wouldn’t have the courage to do that, especially as a newly-appointed manager with no previous experience.
Good Can Come
Good can come from the Matteo Guendouzi situation. Unlike previous coaches, Arteta appears unwilling to either pamper or overly-punish his players so whatever sanctions placed on Guendouzi won’t likely last long.
After that, he will rightly find himself restored to the Arsenal first team. That is the ideal scenario for all parties involved. Matteo Guendouzi will learn a good lesson; players are not above the coach [at least most players not named Lionel Messi].
Mikel Arteta will show his discipline as a coach and hopefully earn yet more respect from his players. Hopefully that means they will continue to run their hearts out for Arteta, as seems the case now.
Finally, Arsenal will get a cool head in the dugout and a fiery player back on the pitch. So long as neither party does anything to further antagonise the situation, Arsenal’s Matteo Guendouzi issue is not really an issue.
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