Arsenal stars at centre of ‘hippy crack’ storm including Mesut Ozil and Pierre- Emerick Aubameyang leave training after club confirmed Unai Emery would call them in for talks
- Arsenal stars pictured leaving training on Friday afternoon amid controversy
- Some players appeared to use balloons to inhale nitrous oxide at August party
- German star Mesut Ozil, 30, appears to fall semi-conscious in the video
- Nineteen-year-old Matteo Guendouzi appears to lose consciousness altogether
- Arsenal on Friday confirmed they will discuss the matter internally
A group of Arsenal stars who were involved in the ‘hippy crack’ controversy were pictured leaving their London Colney training base on Friday afternoon after the club confirmed they would be called in for talks.
Mesut Ozil, Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang were just some of the big names to feature in a video released by The Sun on Thursday night.
The footage appears to show Ozil, Aubameyang, Lacazette and Matteo Guendouzi using balloons to inhale nitrous oxide — a legal high that can cause potentially dangerous side-effects — at a party in London a few days before the start of the season in August.
Mesut Ozil, one star in the centre of the ‘hippy crack’ controversy, leaves training on Friday
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, also included in The Sun’s video, drives out of the training base
France striker Alexandre Lacazette steers his Mercedes out of the club’s London Colney base
Lacazette is one of the star names who appears to inhale the ‘hippy crack’ in the video
Playmaker Henrikh Mkhitaryan (pictured) appeared to decline the nitrous oxide at the party
On what seems to be CCTV footage, Ozil appears to fall semi-conscious after inhaling from a balloon, while Guendouzi looks as though he loses consciousness altogether during what is claimed to be a private party at the exclusive Tape Club in London’s West End. Aubameyang can be seen sucking from a balloon and laughing.
Ozil appears to offer a balloon to midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan, 29, who declines to take it and instead sucks on a lollipop.
According to the Sun, Ozil ‘looked out of it at one point’ and that ‘he took a big draw on a balloon then seemed to lose his consciousness and slide down in his seat’. Guendouzi is said to have been ‘even worse’.
German defender Shkodran Mustafi was also seen in the footage but was not filmed having any nitrous oxide, while defender Sead Kolasinac, 25, is another among those on camera.
Arsenal are at the centre of the latest hippy crack controversy to hit English football
Matteo Guendouzi (pictured) appears to lose consciousness after inhaling from a balloon
Arsenal lost the first two games of the Premier League campaign to ‘Big Six’ rivals Manchester City and Chelsea.
Other Premier League players have found themselves the subject of such allegations in the past, with Raheem Sterling, Saido Berahino and Jack Grealish among them.
While the risks from using what is also known as laughing gas from small canisters is generally considered to be low, football clubs are usually unhappy when their players are associated with images such as those published on Thursday.
However while Arsenal and their manager have taken a dim view, there was a plea from the Emirates for perspective. It is believed the night out was planned, with club officials knowing about the players’ party.
Guendouzi (L), Lacazette (2nd L) and Aubameyang (right) train at London Colney on Friday
There appeared to be a jovial mood in the session despite players courting controversy
Ozil, one of the marquee names at Arsenal, tried to put aside the saga during Friday’s session
Aubameyang and Guendouzi appear unfazed despite the controversy surrounding the club
Young midfielder Guendouzi moved to the Premier League club only this summer
Gunners boss Unai Emery was expected to call the players in question in for talks on Friday
HOW WILL HARDLINE BOSS EMERY REACT?
Arsenal manager Unai Emery is so strict with his players that he has even banned them from drinking fruit juice, so it remains to be seen how dimly he reacts to the news that his players have been taking nitrous oxide.
After replacing long-time boss Arsene Wenger in the summer, Emery revealed his canteen crackdown was part of a move to get his players far fitter. He has also set up a marquee at the club’s training ground where players can do extra cardio work while they train.
Emery said: ‘I like fruit a lot and I like fruit juice. But with a lot of sugar? Not very good.
‘When I was young, my father came every day with a fresh orange fruit juice.
‘I like it in my life. When I arrived here, I asked only for that from the cook. And the players, I think, are the same. They prefer their orange fresh.’
He is also starting to crack the whip on the pitch too, with Mesut Ozil, the team’s star playmaker on £300,000 per week, dropped recently for the trip to Bournemouth because he was deemed not hard-working enough for such a fixture.
There is also a belief at the club that players had attempted to be discreet by requesting a private room at the nightspot.
Emery is likely to play the incident down when he is asked about it for the first time at Saturday’s match against Huddersfield. The Spaniard is determined to ensure his players won’t lose focus before the match, which could see Arsenal extend their unbeaten run to 21 games.
While some discussions over the issue took place on Friday, Emery will draw a line under the matter following talks with those involved.
Emery will decide on any potential formal disciplinary sanctions, though the club are adamant they will stay private.
In another blow, Arsenal have confirmed Rob Holding is out for up to nine months after rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.
MailOnline exclusively revealed the extent of the injury on Thursday. The defender was taken off on a stretcher during Arsenal’s 2-2 draw at Manchester United on Wednesday night.
The news comes at a time when Holding was emerging as a serious candidate to break into Gareth Southgate’s England squad following a string of excellent displays.
England medics will ask to be kept updated on Holding’s recovery. Their next fixtures are in March, when they kick off their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign against the Czech Republic and Montenegro.
Wolves midfielder Morgan Gibbs-White, who made his full Premier League debut in Wednesday’s win over Chelsea, is also in Southgate’s thoughts ahead of next year’s games. England are also watching Brighton attacker Solly March, who has three Under 21 caps.
Defensive pair Shkodran Mustafi (L) and Sead Kolasinac (R) were also among those in the video
The aforementioned Arsenal stars were allegedly inhaling nitrous oxide inside Tape Club