Matteo Guendouzi would have been shaken up by Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta’s decision to unceremoniously dump him from his squad for Sunday’s 4-0 win over Newcastle, according to former Gunner Lee Dixon.
The north Londoners have just returned from a warm weather training camp where their new manager was putting his players through their paces.
And while Dani Ceballos and Eddie Nketiah presumably impressed Arteta as they were drafted into the starting XI, it seems Guendouzi is not flavour of the month with the boss.
But Dixon believes dropping him could be a clever move by the manager, as it will lead the former Lorient midfielder to redouble his efforts to reclaim his place.
“What Mikel Arteta has done with Matteo Guendouzi today, leaving him out of the squad, will have shaken him up a bit and that’s what he did with Alexandre Lacazette by leaving him on the bench,” he told the BBC.
“That’s what managers have to do sometimes, leave them out to keep them honest.”
Real Madrid loanee Ceballos was the preferred option in central midfield against Newcastle, and was instrumental in the second-half rout.
Lucas Torreira replaced the Spaniard late on, with Ceballos on the receiving end of huge applause from the Gunners faithful.
Arteta said after the match: “Dani Ceballos is a good example. He was injured and when he started to train I didn’t think he was fit enough.
“He completely changed his behaviour and trained like an animal. I thought he was the best player on the pitch.”
With Granit Xhaka also performing well in the 4-0 victory, Guendouzi’s chances going forward could be limited.
The 20-year-old made 48 appearances last season and has added a further 28 this term.
Arsenal’s win came about thanks to goals from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Nicolas Pepe, Alexandre Lacazette and Mesut Ozil.