Arsenal manager Unai Emery has suggested that Matteo Guendouzi should book himself in for a haircut to escape any further rough treatment in the Premier League, after Marouane Fellaini painfully yanked back his hair in Wednesday evening’s 2-2 draw with Manchester United.
Fellaini, a second-half substitute for United, grabbed a handful of the French teenager’s long hair in the closing stages of the draw at Old Trafford and somehow escaped a yellow card, despite the foul clearly being seen by referee Andre Marriner.
The Belgian has only recently shaved off his distinctive afro and was suspended for his angry reaction to Leicester defender Robert Huth committing a similar offence in the 2015/16 season, but will escape any retrospective action for the foul.
And quizzed about the offence ahead of Arsenal’s match against Huddersfield this weekend, Emery brushed aside the controversy by playfully saying his 19-year-old midfielder would be better off losing his long locks.
“I think the best thing is for the next match for Matteo to cut his hair, and this problem is finished,” the Arsenal manager smiled. “Just like Fellaini!
“When I was a player it was the same. Today, with the cameras, all the situations happening in the 90 minutes can be seen. Some questions are for me between the players on the pitch. If it’s not a good action they can receive a card.
“On the pitch, the situation happened and it’s between the players.”
Guendouzi, who was signed from French second division side Lorient in the summer, was handed his seventh start of the Premier League season alongside Lucas Torreira, playing behind Alex Iwobi and captain Aaron Ramsey.
Mesut Ozil once again missed out on a place in Arsenal’s squad, with Emery explaining that the German was still suffering from “backache” — although was in line to return on Saturday against relegation strugglers Huddersfield.
“He had backache and he is now working with the physio,” Emery said. “We are going to look at when he can come back with us.
“This morning he worked with the physio out on the pitch, running and touching the ball. So tomorrow we will make the decision.”
The draw extended Arsenal’s unbeaten stretch to 20 games across all competitions, just one short of the run of 21 which Paris Saint-Germain began the 2017/18 season under Emery.
Their long run was eventually ended by a shock 2-1 loss away to Strasbourg, with Emery aware of the need to reenergise his players ahead of the weekend after incredibly intense matches against Tottenham Hotspur and United.
“I’ve learnt in the Premier League that every team has good players, good organisation, good possibilities in the 90 minutes against every team,” Emery added.
“On Saturday, the first thing is we must show very big respect, more than Manchester United, more than Tottenham, because we need a high level in our performance to win against them.
“They are going to push a lot and [will want] a surprise. We are very convinced in our way - work, prepare, respect, push with our supporters at the Emirates and feel the spirit with them.”
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