Arsenal stars Ceballos and Nketiah involved in bust-up before Fulham clash

Arsenal pair Dani Ceballos and Eddie Nketiah were involved in a heated bust-up before their Premier League opener against Fulham.

The pair were both left on the bench by manager Mikel Arteta as they travelled to Craven Cottage for the first game of the season.

And their frustrations at being left out of the starting line-up seemed to bubble over as they clashed in a pre-game warm-up on the pitch.

With the starting players in the dressing room, the substitutes were seen in a circle with one man in the middle.

As the ball was played to Nketiah, Ceballos dived in with an aggressive challenge, prompting a word from Nketiah before the Spaniard shoved the youngster.

They seemed to exchange words as Ceballos walked off before the ball again came to Nketiah and he attempted to blast it at the midfielder.

The two then squared up again with Ceballos again shoving his team-mate before team-mates intervened before Nketiah reacted.

The pre-match incident showed tensions were running high – but Rio Ferdinand was keen to downplay their bust-up.

Ferdinand told BT Sport: “This is part of it. I think at the end of the day, sometimes it gets heated.

“You’d see that probably once or twice a week at the training ground, it’s just that we happen to be here to see it.

“I’m sure Mikel Arteta wouldn’t be too disappointed with that.”

Alexandre Lacazette was preferred to Nketiah in the starting line-up with Mohamed Elneny getting the nod in midfield over Ceballos.

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But Ceballos only secured a return to the club on another season-long loan deal from Real Madrid earlier this week and the game seemingly came too soon.

After securing a deal for another season, Ceballos hailed the impact of manager Mikel Arteta.

“To be honest, it wasn’t easy for him [Arteta] because he was coming into a dressing room that had already had two other coaches and where the team hadn’t been able to get the results that everyone wanted,” Ceballos told Arsenal Digital.

“It wasn’t easy for me to get into the team either because I was coming off the back of a long injury lay-off. I felt like I should be playing but I was wrong about that because I wasn’t fit.

“The coach was really straight with me and said that if I got myself fit and kept working hard, I’d have a chance of getting back into the team.

“I ended up performing well and repaying the faith he’d shown in me before the Newcastle game.

“From that moment onwards, we started to build a good coach/player bond and things went well for me personally.

“I think he’s made me a much better player in the last six months.”

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