Dani Ceballos’ sending off against Villarreal on Thursday brought up an uncomfortable milestone for Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta.
Since the Spaniard replaced Unai Emery in December 2019, 10 Gunners players have received their marching orders in the 80 games played in that time in all competitions.
Shockingly that is twice as many as any other Premier League club in that period, suggesting Arsenal are suffering from a major discipline problem.
Thankfully for Arsenal, Ceballos’ sending off did not affect them too badly, with Nicolas Pepe still able to snatch what could be a vital away goal from the penalty spot.
But it is an issue that has been harming the Gunners ever since Arteta took charge and is part of the reason for their poor Premier League season.
The Athletic report that Arteta’s approach to discipline is a clear difference between him and his predecessor Emery.
They claim that Emery’s attitude was much more relaxed, with the Spaniard preferring to issue warnings rather than hand out fines.
It is also stated that he would let ill-discipline slide if it had a positive effect on his squad’s morale.
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That approach proved a popular one with his players, with only five players getting sent off in the 58 games played in his first season at the Emirates.
Arteta has taken a much firmer approach to discipline since he took over, applying a series of hard rules on his squad.
That does not mean Arteta has not tried to have fun with his discipline though, with the Athletic claiming that he introduced a wheel of fortune to deal out punishments.
The website does state that the wheel of fortune as since been removed after repeat offenders claimed the novelty of it had worn off.
Clearly, Arteta’s approach has not worked as he would have hoped, with the Gunners’ lack of discipline continually causing them problems.
The Spaniard may want to look at his countryman’s more relaxed approach as a method to bringing down their high rate of red cards.
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