Matteo Guendouzi was left out of the Arsenal squad for Sunday’s Premier League win against Newcastle following an argument with head coach Mikel Arteta and members of his coaching staff during the Gunners’ mid-season training camp in Dubai.
Sources close to the club confirmed that Arteta was left disappointed in Guendouzi’s attitude after a heated row on the training pitch, while it has also been reported that tensions remained high later that evening back at the team's hotel.
Arteta responded by dropping the 20-year-old for Sunday’s game at Emirates Stadium, the first time the France Under-21 international had not been involved in Premier League matchday squad this season.
It does not look like there will be any official disciplinary action taken against Guendouzi for the incident, with his exclusion from the squad deemed as sufficient punishment.
However, it is now up to Guendouzi to earn his place back in the side.
The midfielder has been a regular for the Gunners since his €8m (£7m/$9.4m) move from Lorient in the summer of 2018, making 76 appearances in all competitions.
But he now faces a challenge to break back into the team not just because of this incident, but also the performance Dani Ceballos, who replaced him in the starting XI against the Magpies on Sunday.
The Spaniard turned in arguably his finest display of the season in his first league start since the 1-1 draw against Wolves at the start of November.
Playing in a deep-lying midfield role, the 23-year-old attempted 91 passes, 85 of which were successful, and began the sweeping move that led to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s crucial opening goal early in the second half.
Speaking after the game, Arteta said Ceballos was the best player on the pitch and praised his recent attitude in training.
"Dani Ceballos is a good example. He was injured and when he started to train I didn’t think he was fit enough," he said. "He completely changed his behaviour and trained like an animal. I thought he was the best player on the pitch."
Sunday’s win lifted Arsenal up to 10th in the table and are in action again on Thursday when they meet Olympiacos in the Europa League, before hosting Everton back in the Premier League on Sunday.