Arsenal legend Martin Keown blasts ‘toxic’ dressing room and raises Mikel Arteta concern

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Arsenal legend Martin Keown has warned there is an ‘undercurrent’ of players within the Arsenal dressing room that no longer listen to Mikel Arteta. The Gunners endured yet another night of misery on Tuesday, with Man City dumping them out of the Carabao Cup.

With Arsenal enduring their worst start to a Premier League season since 1974/75, the cup competition had proved a valuable distraction.

But that came crashing down at the Emirates, with Pep Guardiola’s side thrashing them 4-1 in the quarter final.

Arteta is facing increasing scrutiny and despite the Arsenal board sticking by their man, reports of a toxic atmosphere in the dressing room has emerged.

The Spaniard has been told he will need to rebalance the increasingly unhappy dynamic, but Keown believes the murmurs of discontent are growing.

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Speaking to talkSPORT, he said: “You wonder how toxic the dressing room is when there’s a growing group of players who don’t take part and sit in the corner.

“I wouldn’t say they’d be sniggering, but there is an undercurrent, surely there must be.”

“People are calling for Emile Smith-Rowe and all these youngsters, but you can’t just throw them into this situation.

“Some of the guys are not getting opportunities early enough, then all of a sudden we put Runarsson into the team when he’s not ready.

“That has to come down to the manager. You really can’t get anything wrong from now on in, with the January transfer window coming up, there can be no more mistakes.

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He added: “They paid £25m for William Saliba and he doesn’t have a squad number, Nicolas Pepe is wondering around like he’s not interested, Willian is on holiday.

“You have to pick senior players you can rely upon and bolt young kids onto that, with players they can pick up the right habits.

“At the moment, the club feels like it’s in free fall.”

Keown suggested that the Arsenal boss, despite only recently hitting his one-year anniversary is facing ‘massive pressure’ to keep his job.

“The support base around the manager has got to help him when it comes to every single decision,” he added.

“At the moment, the club feels like it’s in free fall. He’s under massive pressure.”

But despite that growing pressure, Arteta has claimed his players will continue to fight for the badge, with a London derby against Chelsea on Boxing Day.

“It is what we are fighting against, but we are gonna keep fighting,” he said after the defeat.

“There is not any other way. It’s a really hard result to take. But as well we have to look at things that can help us for the future, and I have to say for the young players in a really difficult scenario they did really well.”

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