Arsenal teammates Ben White and Oleksandr Zinchenko had to be physically separated after arguing over the goal they conceded during Tuesday night’s Premier League clash against Nottingham Forest.
Mikel Arteta’s side gave themselves a two-goal cushion thanks to second-half goals from Gabriel Jesus and Bukayo Saka but they failed to keep a clean sheet as Taiwo Awoniyi scored an 88th-minute goal on his return from injury.
It was a frustrating end to what was a solid performance from the Gunners, who now sit second in the Premier League table. But despite picking up all three points, things turned nasty after the full-time whistle.
As they made their way off the pitch, Ben White and Oleksandr Zinchenko could be seen squaring up to each other during an angry exchange, with tensions getting so heated that the pair had to be pulled apart by set-piece coach Nicolas Jover.
Mikel Arteta eventually went over to Zinchenko, who was upset by the confrontation.
“That’s pushing each other” 💪
Mikel Arteta explains the post-match feud between Oleksandr Zinchenko and Ben White…
— Football on TNT Sports (@footballontnt) January 30, 2024
So why did White and Zinchenko exchange words after the 2-1 win? According toSky Sports, the post-match celebrations were cut short when the pair argued over the goal they conceded.
The Ukraine international played Gonzalo Montiel onside before the Argentine full-back headed across to Awoniyi, who beat goalkeeper David Raya with a neat finish.
White was seemingly unhappy with Zinchenko’s positioning in the build-up to Awoniyi’s goal and made his feelings known at full-time, but Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta said he “loved” the exchange.
White has every right to be angry, look at the difference between Zinchenko and the other 3
— 𝐇𝐚𝐦𝐳𝐚 🧩 (@FPLPattern) January 30, 2024
When asked about the incident in his post-match interview withTNT Sports, Arteta said: “That’s pushing each other and not being happy with conceding nothing. I have to encourage that and promote it in the right way and a respectful game.
“Sometimes after the game it is too emotional and too heated. But, I love that the players are pushing each other and demanding excellence.”
He added: “I love it. They are demanding more from each other. They are not happy with the way they conceded and they are just trying to resolve it.
“It got a bit heated. But that means that it’s enough. Playing the way we played the result has to be bigger and the clean sheet has to be there.”
Paul Scholes, meanwhile, made his feelings clear on Zinchenko’s positioning in an Instagram story post.
He wrote: “A full-back coming in to central midfield is an insult to a central midfield player….I think he/she should be told to get the f*** back out there. …night.”