Mikel Arteta joked that Ben White and Oleksandr Zinchenko have been ‘sharing wives’ three days on from their heated bust-up during Arsenal’s win over Nottingham Forest. The pair needed to be pulled apart at the end of the game after becoming embroiled in a furious spat, with their manager being forced to step in and calm things down.
White and Zinchenko appeared to disagree over the goal conceded by Arsenal in the closing stages, with Taiwo Awoniyi pulling one back to halve the deficit for Forest. Arteta was quizzed on the incident in Friday’s press conference and left reporters in stitches with his response, in which he joked that the two players have been ‘sharing wives’ since making amends.
“They’ve been in the same house for the last three days, sharing wives and everything,” said Arteta. “They are living together now, they are best mates. You don’t argue with somebody you don’t have a great relationship with, it happens because of the trust. I love it, as long as it’s in a respectful way and it stays there, very happy with that.”
Arsenal will be hoping to continue their winning ways against Liverpool on Sunday in a seismic clash at the top of the Premier League table. The Gunners sit two places and five points behind their Merseyside rivals but Arteta is hoping that his players will be buoyed by the benefit of home advantage.
“We need to play like we did the last two games against them, but we need to be more efficient,” he said. “Very excited, it’s always great to prepare for a game against Liverpool. We play at home and I sense a real sense of positivity around the place.
“We had some big experiences [last season]. What we did last year was another big step, this season we are trying to do something better. The squad is better. We have some important injuries but the squad has managed really well.
“We have beaten big teams already and it’s an opportunity to beat Liverpool and be in a much better place. It’s going to be an incredible atmosphere and we will need it. I encourage everybody to play with every single ball and we have a big chance to win the game.”
Arteta went on to reveal that Thomas Partey will not be making a timely return from injury ahead of Sunday’s match, with the midfielder having suffered a minor setback in his recovery. However, there are minimal concerns over the availability of Gabriel Jesus, who overcame a painful knock to play a crucial role in the midweek victory over Forest.
“Gabi [Jesus] played and trained with us the whole week,” explained Arteta. “With Thomas, unfortunately we had a little setback a few days ago. He’s not going to be available in the squad. We don’t know if it’s a few days or weeks. He felt something in a very similar area and he wasn’t able to train the last few days.”
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