Former Arsenal forward Charlie Nicholas has accused Unai Emery of not coaching Matteo Guendouzi properly.
The 20-year-old French midfielder has been a near ever-present for the Gunners this season having started in each of their opening 13 Premier League outings.
How has Guendouzi been performing this season? Five things to know…
- Matteo Guendouzi became one of Unai Emery’s first signings as Arsenal manager in 2018.
- He’s one of three Arsenal players to feature in all 13 of their Premier League games this season.
- He’s only played fewer minutes (1,143) than Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (1,170) and Bernd Leno (1,170).
- Guendouzi has made more tackles (24), interceptions (20) and passes (817) than any other Arsenal player.
- Ex-Gunner Charlie Nicolas, though, has criticised manager Emery for not coaching him properly.
Guendouzi has only failed to complete the full 90 minutes on two occasions, during the 3-1 defeat against Liverpool and the 2-2 draw with Watford, both coming away from home.
The former FC Lorient player was among Emery’s first signings when he succeeded legendary boss Arsene Wenger in 2018, and so far during this campaign, he’s rotated between playing as a central midfielder and sitting just in front of Arsenal’s backline.
Consequently, the Poissy-born footballer has been praised and criticised in equal measure, with many feeling he’s one of the Gunners’ best performers, whilst others have questioned his composure and discipline – Guendouzi currently has four yellow cards to his name.
Among those who hold a favourable attitude towards Guendouzi is former Arsenal forward Nicholas, who believes the youngster has been let down by Emery and those around him.
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“Matteo Guendouzi, I like, but he is young and he is naive and he is not getting taught how to play the position properly,” he told Sky Sports.
“They are all individuals and until they get that team spirit and understanding of it, then Arsenal are constantly going to have problems.
“Mesut Ozil is now in the team and has played quite well, but a few weeks ago we were being told he would be sold in January. What is going on at Arsenal?
“This is why I make the point that while it is the manager’s responsibility and the players are letting him down, the hierarchy has got to make a stand. When [Arsene] Wenger was asked to move aside from his position, we were told this was the new modern Arsenal.
“The young players will probably do well on Thursday, but it is the experienced players who are making Arsenal’s life a misery.”