If I had a fiver for every time two footballers from the same side had a spat, I’d be drinking cocktails by a large open-air swimming pool overlooking the sweeping landscape of southern France. Dani Ceballos and Eddie Nketiah provided the pre-match entertainment with some old fashioned pushing and shoving for the BT cameras.
Manchester United’s Roy Keane used to have a fortnightly fracas with teammates, but it never detracted from the team’s ability to win games or scoop up titles. Yes, it looks a little unsavoury, with the usually calm and collected Dani Ceballos and academy fledgling Eddie Nketiah going toe to toe, but in the big scheme of things, it’s nothing that should concern Arsenal fans.
During a short passing drill ahead of the Fulham game, the breaking point came when the Spanish midfielder caught the young striker with a tackle to claim the loose ball. Words were exchanged before the players before Ceballos shoved Nketiah away.
In a few moments, they went at it again after another challenge by Ceballos with Nketiah kicking the ball at the Spaniard. Ceballos hustled Eddie again before Kolasinac intervened and shepherded Nketiah away to prevent things from escalating further.
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) September 12, 2020
In a competitive team keen to impress the boss, an over-exuberant, enthusiastic tackle here and there is to be half expected. Both players posed for a ‘kiss and makeup’ picture on social media which looked genuine, perhaps, with both all too aware of Arteta’s list of non-negotiables.
Depending on Arteta’s view, one or both may be late in starting the campaign, if he deemed any of it unnecessary. I doubt they will be absent for long and that Arteta will base any decision purely on fitness and ability for the games ahead.
In a way, it was nice to see such spirit but it should technically be reserved for the opposition. Nketiah may find opportunities harder to come by this season on the evidence of the Fulham game, with plenty of options upfront including Willian, Saka, Martinelli (when fit), and Pepe.