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Arsenal players are said to have had furious talks to “clear the air” during the week, resulting in a better atmosphere in the locker room for their 4-1 win over Rapid Wien on Thursday.
The Gunners started the season strong, but a couple of disastrous results have left them languishing in the lower half of the table. A week after beating Manchester United at Old Trafford, Mikel Arteta’s team was beaten 3-0 at home to Aston Villa, and earned a second straight home loss to Wolves at the weekend.
Arteta evidently felt that action was necessary in the wake of the Wolves’ defeat and, according to ESPN, summoned his team and staff on Tuesday to get him out. He asked his players not to keep anything, and they took full advantage, pointing fingers at prominent team members.
The talks continued even after Arteta and his staff called the meeting, with ESPN citing ‘multiple sources’ as saying things escalated after the boss left the building. The end result, however, was “friendly” and led to a renewed determination to succeed.
That may have been evident in their riotous Europa League victory when a much-changed Gunners side pushed the Austrians aside to qualify for the Round of 32. Alexandre Lacazette, Pablo Mari and Eddie Nketiah led Arsenal 3-0 at halftime, and Emile Smith Rowe added a quarter after a hit from Koya Kitagawa knocked one back.
Heading into the North London derby with Tottenham this weekend, Arteta said: “I think the guys showed great energy, character and aggressiveness. From the beginning, you could feel that they were shaken from the last defeat and everyone played a very good match individually.
“In the last third we were really aggressive with the ball, we created a lot of opportunities, we scored four goals and we probably should have scored more, and now let’s take it to Sunday, a very special match, we are all waiting for it, and let’s do it all again.”