Mattéo Guendouzi's Petulance May Be Growing Tiresome - But at Least it Shows That He Cares

In every level of football, when you glance at the opposition lineup there tends to be at least one player who you know, with enough gentle nudging, can see red and lose his focus.

Joey Barton and Roy Keane are a few names that spring to mind. People who with enough - legal - winding up could be of detriment to their sides with some overaggressive tendencies, resulting in needless fouls and bookings.

Mattéo Guendouzi has found himself to be one such player since he joined Arsenal. Rarely ever does he give away a foul without a moan or a groan, and when the going gets tough, you're likely to see his petulance and lack of discipline come to the fore.

He's only young, and not exactly physically imposing, but he isn't afraid of making his feelings known by getting in an opponent's face or standing up for his teammates if they find themselves on the end of some unfair treatment.

That was all on shown at the Amex on Saturday's Premier League clash, where his frustrations boiled over after the full-time whistle and he got involved in an altercation with Neal Maupay. Whether his response was justified or not - after he'd seen Bernd Leno forced off on a stretcher after an incident with the striker - the public's reaction was likely split.

One section will have lambasted this frilly-haired teenager for a perceived childish outburst, but some (such as me) are glad to see a player wear his heart on his sleeve. Especially at time where Arsenal are in complete and utter disarray.

Matteo Guendouzi was unable to steer Arsenal away from a damaging 2-1 defeat at Brighton

Mikel Arteta said after their damaging defeat to Brighton that his side didn't 'compete' at the right moments, which while he denied was a reflection on the squad's character, clearly references a lack of fight on their part.

Many things can be said of Guendouzi, but you can't question his fight.

He's been accused of running for the sake of running at times during his Arsenal career, with aimless carrying of the ball into cul-de-sacs and poor choices in the final third also highlighted.

But what he cannot be begrudged for is a supposed lack of desire. He clearly cares about the club, cares about the fans and cares about his own performances, which is evident in his sometimes overreactive mannerisms.

Guendouzi remonstrating with the linesman

Before anyone jumps the gun, this does not mean that the rest of the Arsenal side don't care. It's the go-to accusation by football supporters when their side are down in the dumps and results aren't forthcoming, but that's not the road we're going down.

To suggest the every member of that squad does have a vested interest in the club would be an uneducated guess, but to claim, for example, that Dani Ceballos didn't care on Saturday simply because he didn't play well is an unjust judgement on someone's character.

However, what Guendouzi does is he channels that inner determination into his performances. His passion and willingness transfer into the way he harries after opponents and leaves nothing out of a challenge. The way he bemoans every decision going against his side in the quest for glory. The manner with how he isn't afraid to speak his mind when he feels - rightly or wrongly - that a decision has gone against him.

He isn't the most technically gifted footballer, nor is he anywhere near the finished article, but if you took that fight out of the Frenchman it's unlikely that we'd be talking about one of Europe's most exciting young prospects.

Guendouzi played in a deeper role away at the AMEX Stadium

By no means is Guendouzi not partly at fault for the Brighton defeat, though. He was one of the 'better ' players on the day, and looked OK in the defensive midfield role, but he didn't offer enough in possession and struggled against the physicality of the Seagulls' midfield at times.

It's not a position he's normally asked to play - it was enforced by Granit Xhaka's absence - but he still gave it his all, even if the quality was lacking somewhat.

If the rest of the Arsenal squad could take a leaf out of his book, perhaps not with the incessant moaning, but with the grimaces in their faces, their vocality on the pitch and the anger spurning them on, they may be able to turn a corner.

There is no questioning that they care, but sometimes, like Guendouzi, it needs to be visibly displayed.

For more from Ross Kennerley, follow him on Twitter!

Source : 90min