Arsenal FC Team Meeting Reportedly Gets Very Heated

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While Arsenal have been dominant in UEFA Europa League play this season, they have also been just plain awful in Premier League competition. Yes, there is obviously a significant difference, sometimes, in the level of quality of the opponent between the league and the UEL, but that still doesn’t tell the whole story.

The Gunners are currently 14th in the league, utterly unacceptable for a team of their history, stature and financial resources, and this has led to speculation about the future of manager Mikel Arteta.

He’s been on the job for just under a calendar year, but he knows he needs results soon, otherwise he could be shown the door.

Arteta is being proactive, as according to an ESPN report, he “assembled the entire first-team group on Tuesday in a bid to address a slump in form.”

The Spaniard sought an open and candid discussion, among the starting players, about what has gone wrong this season and how to fix it.

The ESPN FC article goes on to say that this pow wow was followed by a players only meeting, in which the squad members “exchanged angry words with each other.”

ESPN’s sources go on to say that it was “stormy,” “intense,” with “raised voices” and “finger pointing.”

However, it ended with everyone essentially on the same page, and with the intent of backing the boss to ultimately succeed.

As the cliche goes, winning cures everything, so if/when the Gunners can get back to winning ways the tension, theoretically, should dissipate. Given the rough start to the season at the Emirates club, news like this is not surprising.

Yes, they crushed Rapid Vienna last night in the UEL, with a heavily rotated squad, but that isn’t a very accurate barometer of whether or not these heated team meetings made a positive impact or not.

We could see an answer to that on Sunday, when Arsenal head to league leading Tottenham for the next edition of the North London Derby.

Emotions always run high in a rivalry clash, in both good times and bad, and now with this news of tension and conflict behind the scenes, it figures to be a very emotional week at the club.

Perhaps this weekend we’ll see if the squad get togethers have fired them up to start playing better.

It’s also possible that this may serve as a distraction, which could make things even worse. The club has yet to officially comment on the ESPN article.

Arteta’s predecessor, Unai Emery, had an ill-fated and short run at the helm of the club.

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While the current boss may be given more time to turn things around, it’s clear that the pressure is on for him to get things moving in the right direction soon.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank, partnered with News NowBanks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” has regularly appeared in WGNSports IllustratedChicago Tribune and SB NationFollow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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