The Mikel Arteta decision that frustrated Arsenal star David Luiz

Arsenal have been forced to deny reports of a bust-up between Mikel Arteta and David Luiz
Arsenal have been forced to deny reports of a bust-up between Mikel Arteta and David Luiz (Picture: Getty)

Mikel Arteta is struggling to unite Arsenal’s divided dressing room with several of his senior players questioning a series of contentious decisions.

The Gunners have slipped perilously close to the relegation zone following a worrying run of results, culminating in last night’s 1-1 draw against Southampton where Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s equaliser preventing an unprecedented fifth straight home defeat.

Arteta is said to maintain the total faith of the club’s hierarchy and was effectively given a vote of confidence by Arsenal’s Director of Football Edu earlier this week.

According to The Athletic, however, divisions in the squad have arisen as a consequence of Arteta’s inconsistent decision making, particularly with regards to his man management of certain players.

Several players, for example, are said to have been unhappy that Willian was selected to start last month’s goalless draw against Leeds United following his unsanctioned trip to Dubai during the international break.

Willian’s Brazilian compatriot, David Luiz, meanwhile, was said to have been left frustrated after he was omitted from the team which recorded what appeared to be a landmark victory against Manchester United at the start of November.

Luiz had suffered a muscle injury shortly after half-time in the defeat against Leicester a week prior, but the 33-year-old is said to have felt he was fit enough to be part of the squad which travelled to Old Trafford.

Arteta, however, disagreed and left Luiz out of his plans, a decision which is said to have annoyed the former Chelsea star who has started just once in the Premier League since then.

Earlier this week reports claimed there had been a total breakdown in the relationship between Luiz and the manager who had so vociferously championed his cause following stinging criticism of his performance against Manchester City last season.

Arsenal strenuously denied those reports and a statement from Luiz’s representatives added: ‘David Luiz strongly denies this story about him and Arteta and insists he has a good relationship with Arteta and wishes nothing but success.’

Luiz did make an appearance as a second half substitute against Southampton last night following the dismissal of Gabriel and is now likely to start against Everton this weekend and will be in contention to feature against his former club on Boxing Day.

MORE : Gabriel apologises after red card in Arsenal’s draw with Southampton

MORE : Mikel Arteta responds to Theo Walcott saying he ‘felt a lot of fear’ in Arsenal during Southampton draw

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