Granit Xhaka’s moment of madness against Burnley was symptomatic of the regime Mikel Arteta has presided over since starting his first full season at the club.
Only a fortnight beforehand, Nicolas Pepe had received his marching orders after launching his head at Ezgjan Alioski during the stalemate against Leeds at Elland Road.
Arteta’s post-match reaction after that game saw him lambast Pepe for his “unacceptable” actions and criticised the Ivorian for ‘letting the team down’.
It’s a rarity that you’ll see a manager criticise a senior player in such blunt fashion but Arteta had no issue with doing so and football.london understands that some of the first-team squad were unhappy about the way he called him out on TV.
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There is talk that many of the players have “mentally clocked out”, including Xhaka who was already not happy at the club after being used in a variety of different roles since Arteta took over.
footbal.london also understands that Arteta’s relationship with David Luiz has soured over the past few weeks, with neither the manager or player speaking directly to each other anymore.
Added to the omission of Mesut Ozil and Sokratis in the Premier League and Europa League squads, the fall-out effect of leaving two influential figures in the dressing room has been felt.
Both players are hugely respected within the first team squad and the reasons for Ozil and Sokratis not being included have never been revealed to the players, it’s been a slow chasm which has indeed affected the mood of the squad and left an unsettling atmosphere around London Colney.
Many have questioned why £28m man William Saliba hasn’t been used in the first team this season and when speaking to a source inside the club, football.london was told that the Frenchman “was an Emery signing”,…