Arsenal pair Oleksandr Zinchenko and Ben White in FURIOUS row at full-time in their 2-1 win at Nottingham Forest

  • Second half goals from Gabriel Jesus and Bukayo Saka helped Arsenal win
  • However, a late goal from Taiwo Awoniyi made for a very nervy finish at the end
  • Richest club in the world but can’t spend any money… what on earth is going on at Newcastle? Listen to the That’s all kicking off the transfer week podcast

Arsenal defenders Oleksandr Zinchenko and Ben White were involved in a furious post-match brawl after Bukayo Saka shot them back into the thick of the title race following a storming win at Nottingham Forest.

Saka scored Arsenal’s crucial second goal to seal a 2-1 win after Gabriel Jesus put the visitors in front after a goalless first half. But it was substitute Taiwo Awoniyi’s late strike for the home side that caused the spat in the Arsenal backline.

With the three points secured, Zinchenko and White complained to each other on the pitch, apparently over the defensive confusion Awoniyi had introduced and caused a nervous breakdown.

Arteta had to step in to calm his argumentative players but insisted he enjoyed their reaction.

He said: ‘I love it, they’re demanding more from each other and they’re not happy with the way they’re giving in and they’re trying to resolve it.

Mikel Arteta was seen consoling an angry Oleksandr Zinchenko after the full-time whistle

Mikel Arteta was seen consoling an angry Oleksandr Zinchenko after the full-time whistle

Ben White clashed with his fellow Gunners defender over the late goal being conceded

Ben White clashed with his fellow Gunners defender over the late goal being conceded

Footage shows the players being separated from each other on the pitch at full time

Footage shows the players being separated from each other on the pitch at full time

Zinchenko and White taunt each other on the pitch amid Arsenal cheers

Zinchenko and White taunt each other on the pitch amid Arsenal cheers

Arsenal held on despite Taiwo Awoniyi scoring a late consolation that sparked the spat

Arsenal held on despite Taiwo Awoniyi scoring a late consolation that sparked the spat

“It was a bit hot, but that means it’s not enough to play the way we played, the result has to be bigger.

‘It pushes each other and is not happy to give in and I have to encourage it and promote it in the right way and in a respectful way.

‘Sometimes after the game it’s emotional and heated, but I love that the players push each other and demand excellence.

“We wanted to generate some momentum in the league and I thought we did that. The performance was very good, we completely dominated the game.

“We had to be patient, but we always had an eye on the opponent, we didn’t allow them to run. We created chances in several ways. I think we showed a lot of maturity to handle the game the way we needed to.’

Arteta also revealed Arsenal were inspired by their title collapse at Forest last season after the Gunners’ 1-0 defeat at the City Ground in May ensured Manchester City lifted the Premier League trophy.

Arsenal were particularly poor that day and it has clearly been on their minds ever since.

Arteta says he loved the spat because it showed his players' 'passion' after hard-fought away win

Arteta says he loved the spat because it showed his players’ ‘passion’ after hard-fought away win

The Spaniard added: ‘I could feel it, they were talking about it coming to that dressing room, it really reminds you, our brains and bodies are really intelligent and come into the same situation when they know what happened and they were really active and engaged and they talked to each other about the game. I thought it was very good.’

Bos boss Nuno Espirito Santo was frustrated with the way his side conceded both goals, although he was pleased with how they kept Arsenal at bay in the first half.

Midway through the second period keeper Matt Turner somehow allowed Jesus’ cross to slip through his legs after Danilo cut off a throw-in – another costly error from the former Arsenal man this season. Then a quick counter attack ended with Saka scoring number two. Forest have tough fixtures in February and also face a potential points deduction for breaching league spending rules.

Nuno said: ‘In the first half we defended well but we should have had more possession and it was negative. In the second half we were better in that respect.

“We were disappointing on both goals. We could have done better in both situations – a throw-in and then from our corner. After we scored we had a good game but we should have played better.’


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