Thursday 13 December 2018

Arsenal stars ‘reminded of responsibilities’ after nitrous oxide video emerges

A number of first-team regulars feature in a video where they appear to inhale the substance.

Arsenal have issued a reminder to players over conduct (Mike Egerton/PA)
Arsenal have issued a reminder to players over conduct (Mike Egerton/PA)

By Press Association Sport Staff

Arsenal say they will “remind players of their responsibilities” after a video emerged which appears to show a number of Gunners stars inhaling nitrous oxide.

Stars including Mesut Ozil, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Matteo Guendouzi feature in the footage, which appears to come from nightclub CCTV footage and was published by The Sun.

In a statement Arsenal said: “The players will be spoken to about this and reminded of their responsibilities as representatives of the club.”

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Mesut Ozil has been pictured apparently inhaling nitrous oxide (Mike Egerton/PA)

Nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas or ‘hippy crack’, is freely available, but it is technically illegal to sell it for recreational purposes.

In the video, which reportedly comes from a London venue shortly before the start of the current season, other Gunners players including Henrik Mkhitaryan can be seen rejecting the offer to use the gas.

The footage is the latest in a series of incidents of top players being linked with nitrous oxide, with Raheem Sterling being warned by Liverpool after footage emerged of him using the substance in 2015.

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Raheem Sterling has previously been involved in a “laughing gas” controversy (Martin Rickett/PA)

In the same year, Jack Grealish was warned by then Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood after pictures emerged of him appearing to inhale the gas, and Saido Berahino was reprimanded by West Brom for a similar incident in 2014.

When an image was posted of Kyle Walker in 2013, he apologised on Twitter, writing: “I won’t be doing this again and hope that no one else is influenced into putting their health at risk by my actions.”

Arsenal began the season with two defeats but have been in excellent form under new manager Unai Emery since.

The Gunners are unbeaten in 20 matches in all competitions and take on Huddersfield in the Premier League on Saturday.

The Gunners’ only losses were the season-opening defeats to Manchester City and at Chelsea in August.

Their forthcoming run of fixtures, against Huddersfield, Southampton, Burnley and Brighton appears favourable before their final game of the calendar year at Liverpool on December 29.

Emery, though, had a two-word riposte when asked about the winnable sequence, saying only: “The next.”

Speaking prior to the publication of the nitrous oxide story, Emery had already explained past results and future results mean little, with the Terriers’ clash his sole focus.

“We need a high level in our performance to win against them,” the Spaniard said.

Defensively we are conceding a lot of goals Arsenal boss Unai Emery

Despite the long unbeaten sequence, Emery wants Arsenal to be more difficult to score against.

He added: “Defensively we are conceding a lot of goals in each match, but the balance at the moment is positive because our attacking players are creating a lot of chances and we are scoring a lot.

“That’s good but we need to take a good balance in the attacking and defensive moments. We have changed to three at the back and sometimes with two or three midfielders.

“We need to continue improving and looking for the best balance.”

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Arsenal defender Rob Holding faces a lengthy absence with a knee injury (Martin Rickett/PA)

Defender Rob Holding (knee) is out, with the Gunners confirming on Friday afternoon that he has ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.

Ozil (back) is likely to miss out again, while Aaron Ramsey (ankle) is a doubt.

Granit Xhaka is available following suspension, while Laurent Koscielny is nearing a return from his long-term Achilles problem, although he may have to wait for Thursday’s Europa League tie with Qarabag.

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