Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta held his pre-Leeds United press conference on Friday afternoon, with a number of noteworthy takeaways having been forthcoming.
The major talking point on the red half of north London on Thursday of course surrounded widespread reports of a falling out between two of the club’s stars.
As first reported by David Ornstein of The Athletic – regarded as highly reliable when it comes to Arsenal news – during a training session last week, David Luiz and Dani Ceballos came to blows.
It was claimed that, after the latter left Luiz grounded with a dangerous late challenge, the Brazilian responded by striking Ceballos on the nose, leaving a scratch which drew blood:
Exclusive: Tensions boiled over in Arsenal training Fri as Luiz hit Ceballos on nose, with scratch drawing blood. When squad returned Tue both apologised + group have continued as normal. #AFC will hope fighting spirit is channeled positively! @TheAthletic https://t.co/7JjNc5eGWh
— David Ornstein (@David_Ornstein) November 19, 2020
Ceballos, however, quickly moved to shut down suggestions of issues in the Arsenal camp.
Taking to social media on Thursday evening, the Spaniard drew attention to The Athletic’s article, accompanied by the simple caption ‘FAKE’:
— Daniel Ceballos (@DaniCeballos46) November 19, 2020
As such, speaking in a press conference ahead of Arsenal’s return to action this weekend, Mikel Arteta was today inevitably drawn on the rampant speculation surrounding his squad.
And though he did not deny that the incident in question indeed took place, the Spaniard was quick to deny the existence of any lingering issues:
‘Nothing. Training is very competitive and issues happen a lot of the time, but those things get resolved immediately within the team. There’s not much to say.’
‘No problem at all.’
Later in his pre-Leeds presser, meanwhile, Arteta was also drawn on the fitness of Thomas Partey.
Arsenal summer addition Partey was forced off during the club’s defeat to Aston Villa prior to the international break, and subsequently sat out Ghana’s latest round of fixtures over the last couple of weeks.
In turn, the midfielder’s participation at Elland Road on Sunday evening had since remained somewhat up in the air.
In a blow for the Gunners faithful, though, Arteta this afternoon confirmed that, with Arsenal not prepared to take any chances on Partey’s wellbeing, the former Atletico Madrid man will not be called up to face Leeds:
‘No, he picked up an injury very early in the game [against Aston Villa], he tried to carry on and he wanted to play the second half and we knew it was a significant injury. He has done really well, he is working very hard and he wants to be available. Hopefully we can get him back soon but it is an area where we have to be careful and a bit protective with the player.’
◆ David Luiz
◆ Dani Ceballos
◆ Joe Willock
All that and more discussed in the boss’ pre-match press conference 👇
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) November 20, 2020
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Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta held his pre-Leeds United press conference on Friday afternoon, with a number of noteworthy takeaways having been forthcoming. ‘No problem’ The major talking point on the red half of north London on Thursday of course surrounded widespread reports of a falling out between two of the club’s stars. As first reportedFootball (soccer) greatest goals and highlights | 101 Great Goals – Feed