Arteta clears up confusing clash between Arsenal pair Gabriel and Saliba – ‘I don’t want robots’

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta

Mikel Arteta has responded to recent footage indicating a potential clash between Arsenal defenders William Saliba and Gabriel Magalhaes.

Saliba and Gabriel have formed Arsenal’s main centre-back partnership this season, both starting every single league game so far. Together, they have been an effective unit for the most part. Indeed, only Newcastle United have conceded fewer goals than the Premier League leaders so far this term.

However, there was recently some confusion about Arsenal’s usual starting pair. After their win over Leicester City on Saturday, Saliba and Gabriel were spotted displaying signs of some kind of disagreement.

Reporters observed angry words between the duo and Saliba possibly even pushing Gabriel. If there is a lack of harmony between them, it has surfaced at far from an ideal time for the title chasers.

Other sources played down the incident, though, since they appeared to be laughing. Besides, it came after a game in which the opposition were limited to just one shot, which wasn’t on target. Therefore, there has been some confusion as to what was actually going on.

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Now, manager Arteta has addressed the issue while speaking at a press conference ahead of Arsenal’s next match, which will be against Everton on Wednesday.

“They are a happy marriage,” said Arteta during the early stages of his media duties. “As you can see they are very passionate and also very demanding. Everything is fine. Yes.”

Arteta insists Gabriel and Saliba have good chemistry

Later pressed on whether he wants his players to challenge each other, Arteta agreed that he wants them to be demanding and passionate, but insisted there is still good chemistry between the pair in question.

“I don’t want robots,” added the Spanish tactician. “I want players with feeling, with passion that make demands of each other, but that have that chemistry. And those two certainly have that chemistry on and off the field.

“I love that even when winning they want to do better.”

Ahead of the game against Everton, Arsenal are two points clear of defending champions Manchester City at the top of the table. This will be a game in hand for the Gunners, too, so they could extend their advantage to five points.

Arteta will have to hope the matter is settled between Gabriel and Saliba, who he will likely be turning to again as his starting partnership.

The Everton match takes place at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday with a 7:45pm GMT kick-off time.

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