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Arteta's explanation after dropping several Arsenal stars branded "little mafia"

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Mikel Arteta has explained his decision to drop several Arsenal stars - including skipper Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang - for the Europa League clash with Slavia Prague.

After the dismal defeat to Jurgen Klopp's side, pundit Gary Neville branded some of Arsenal's front six a "little mafia" who looked "disinterested" in playing for their manager.

"The manager looked like he'd had enough of them.

Speaking on on Sky Sports' Monday Night Football, he said: "We don't know what goes on behind the scenes at Arsenal, but I have to say there's a few of those players in the front part of the pitch who looked like a little mafia against Liverpool.

We want to use our full squad in the best possible way.” On playing Cedric at left-back - with no left-footed player on that flank - Arteta said: “Cedric has played well.

Arteta axed captain Aubameyang as well as Nicolas Pepe and Dani Ceballos as he made six changes for Thursday's quarter-final, following the Gunners' 3-0 loss to Liverpool at the weekend.

"It's instinct, but we've been around football for long enough to know when a group of players are disinterested."
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