Martin Keown has played down claims of a bust-up between David Luiz and Dani Ceballos – but admitted there could be “a problem” within the Arsenal camp.
Reports on Thursday suggested Luiz and Ceballos had been involved in a physical altercation following an argument after an inter-squad training match during the international break.
While it was claimed Luiz had drawn blood from Ceballos during the exchange, manager Mikel Arteta said the incident was not unlike any other training ground disagreement.
And Keown, the former Gunners defender, agreed with Arteta.
He told talkSPORT : “If it did happen, it wouldn’t be unusual. These things happen.
“It’s never nice to see it but Arsenal lost that game against Villa heavily and maybe there is a little bit of a problem within the camp and sometimes people get fraught with one another.
“There’s a fighting spirit there. You won’t want it to happen too often.
“You need to keep everyone together and Arteta needs to be on top of it.”
According to The Athletic, things got a little bit heated between the pair during training last Friday – though Ceballos denied any incident took place via social media.
Mikel Arteta’s Gunners have been starved of title glory for a while now – but things could be changing as a new-look Arsenal side plot a course to success.
You won’t miss a single thing on their journey if you sign up for the brilliant new Mirror Football newsletter, either!
From the latest transfer news to the agenda-setting stories, get it all in your email inbox.
New signings Gabriel Magalhaes and Thomas Partey have hit the ground running following their big money summer arrivals, and the new-look Gunners are going all out for a top four spot and Europa League glory this term.
The Mesut Ozil situation continues to hang in the background and there’s plenty going on in North London to keep abreast of.
Want to sign up and follow Arteta’s journey? Put your email at the top of this article or follow the instructions on this link.
It is claimed that after Arteta brought a halt to the session, Luiz confronted his team-mate after taking exception to a challenge.
The Brazilian defender is understood to have caught the Spaniard in the face, with Ceballos falling to the floor and left with a scratch which drew blood.
Team-mates and staff then stepped in to diffuse the scuffle before things got out of control, and the pair were sent home before returning to training on Tuesday.
On their return to their London Colney training base this week, Arteta is believed to have made the two stars clear the air and they also apologised to their team-mates.
Training is believed to have resumed without incident and the Gunners can now focus on their return to Premier League action.
Asked what happened with Luiz and Ceballos, Arteta, speaking on Friday, replied: “Nothing.
“Training is very competitive and issues happen a lot of times. Those things get resolved immediately within the team and there is not much to say.
“There is no problem at all (between the two players).”