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Pundit claims Mikel Arteta does not trust two Arsenal players

Shaun Wright-Phillips has named two Arsenal players he believes are not trusted by Mikel Arteta to perform at the highest level

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Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta
Image credit: Getty Images

The resurgence of Arsenal back to the top of the Premier League table has sparked discussions about Mikel Arteta’s trust in his squad, with Shaun Wright-Phillips pinpointing two players whom he believes are not fully backed by the manager.

The Gunners have turned around their season with two impressive wins in the Premier League following the difficulties they experienced against Aston Villa and Bayern Munich. 

Arsenal lost a league game for the first time in 2024 against Aston Villa and also bowed out of the Champions League three days later. The two performances looked to have derailed their season, but they have bounced back with a 2-0 win against Wolves at the Molineux.

READ MORE: Thomas Partey lays down marker for Arsenal’s remaining fixtures

They followed that away win with another commanding performance against Chelsea on Tuesday, beating their London rivals 5-0 to move three points clear of Liverpool and four ahead of Manchester City who have two games in hand.

Emile Smith Rowe

Shaun Wright-Phillips believes Mikel Arteta does not trust Emile Smith Rowe and Reiss Nelson (Image Credit: Getty Images)

While City remains the favourite in the title race, Arsenal’s path to success hinges on securing victories in their remaining fixtures, a challenge Arteta is likely to approach with his strongest lineup. However, Wright-Phillips, son of Arsenal legend Ian Wright, suggests that Arteta’s trust in certain players, particularly those on the bench, may be lacking.

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In an analysis on The Kelly and Wrighty Show, Wright-Phillips drew comparisons between Arteta’s management style and that of Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp, highlighting Klopp’s willingness to entrust younger players with opportunities. Conversely, Wright-Phillips argues that Arteta’s reluctance to rotate his squad has left players like Emile Smith Rowe and Reiss Nelson feeling undervalued and underutilised.

He said: “The difference between Klopp and Arteta is that Klopp has trusted in his younger players – Quansah, Elliott.

“When Arsenal need to rotate, it’s just like he just doesn’t believe in Smith Rowe or Nelson to the point where when they do get a chance, all they’re thinking about is: ‘Man, I can’t make a mistake, otherwise I’m never going to get another minute’.

Wright-Phillips emphasised the importance of squad depth, noting that while Arsenal boasts talented players, Arteta’s reluctance to rotate has led to fatigue among key players, impacting their performance in recent fixtures.

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