Arsenal captaincy curse? Aubameyang stripped of armband by Mikel Arteta


Arsenal captaincy record laid bare in wake of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang stripping by Mikel Arteta

Aubameyang stripped of Gunners captaincy

The Arsenal world has been thrown into fresh partisan division once again today after club captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was stripped of the armband by Gunners boss Mikel Arteta.

This decision came in the wake of Aubameyang being dropped altogether from the Arsenal squad that ran out 3-0 winners against Southampton at the Emirates on Saturday.

Arsenal captaincy record laid bare in wake of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang stripping by Mikel Arteta

Arsenal’s Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang reacts to City’s third goal during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on August 28, 2021. – RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)

Arteta made the decision to strip the Gabonese star after talks were conducted between both parties at London Colney on Monday in the wake of the weekend win, with both the Spanish headmaster and senior club figures meeting with the striker to confirm the course of action;

“We expect all our players, particularly our captain, to work to the rules and standards we have all set and agreed. We are fully focused on tomorrow’s match.

I think it’s a really clear statement from the club. It’s a decision that we’ve made following the last incident that we had with the player and this is where we stand.

When we have to make that decision, obviously it’s because that’s the right one to defend the interests of the football club. It’s been a lot to digest and a really difficult decision to make, so we need a bit of time. To make the decision that we made is because it was really hurting and it’s still like this and it needs a little bit of time to heal, so for now, again, he’s not involved in the squad.”

And this has not been the first time there has been disciplinary issues with “the coolest captain in the league” since he took over as captain in the wake of Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka being removed from the role after he marched off against Crystal Palace and – rightly or wrongly – lashed out against Arsenal supporters at the Emirates.

Aubameyang was removed from the squad against Tottenham last season after another disciplinary issue cropped up, and there is no telling how many infractions there have been but left quietly behind doors. No matter what side of the aisle you fall on, this is a strong statement from both Arteta and the club regarding the culture that is trying to be constructed at Arsenal.

Arsenal armband a poison chalice?

With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang no longer being the leading example across Europe of what it means to be a cool captain, the real question of where does Arsenal turn next for his successor in the key leadership role in the first-team at the Emirates remains to be answered.

With two captains being removed from their position as chief NCO in the Gunners camp in the last two years, the reality that wearing the armband at the club has been a point of contention across the last decade if not longer.

Since 2007, the bulk of the senior Arsenal figures amongst the playing personnel can all be questioned. William Gallas, Cesc Fabregas, and Robin Van Persie all left the club during a growing period of turbulence, with Fabregas and Van Persie tainting their reputation amongst millions of Gooners around the world after being universally adored.

There was a period of calm under the likes of Thomas Vermaelen, current boss Mikel Arteta, and current Academy manager Per Mertesacker, only for it to sail into treacherous waters again under Laurent Koscielny, Granit Xhaka, and now Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Who the club turns to next will potentially be a tenure-defining decision by Arteta after the Arsenal boss plans to take his time to announce the next in line while relying on the senior leadership group in the first team for the time being.

Some names that have been postulated include the reinstatement of Xhaka or giving Alexandre Lacazette the armband despite the Frenchman being expected to leave at the end of the season.

Another avenue that is presenting itself comes via the young core of the team through summer signing Martin Ødegaard who already captains Norway at international level, as well as fan-favorite Kieran Tierney, and another summer acquisition in Ben White.

No matter what direction Mikel Arteta goes, this is a decision he cannot miss the mark on.

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Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 Manchester City 16 24 38
2 Liverpool FC 16 33 37
3 Chelsea FC 16 27 36
4 West Ham United 16 9 28
5 Manchester United 16 2 27
6 Arsenal FC 16 -1 26
7 Tottenham Hotspur 14 -1 25
8 Leicester City 16 0 22
9 Wolverhampton Wanderers 16 -2 21
10 Brentford FC 16 -1 20
11 Brighton & Hove Albion 15 -2 20
12 Crystal Palace 16 0 19
13 Aston Villa 16 -4 19
14 Everton FC 16 -8 18
15 Leeds United 16 -8 16
16 Southampton FC 16 -10 16
17 Watford FC 16 -10 13
18 Burnley FC 15 -7 11
19 Newcastle United 16 -17 10
20 Norwich City 16 -24 10
Player Team Goals
Salah, Mohamed Liverpool FC 14
Vardy, Jamie Leicester City 9
Jota, Diogo Liverpool FC 8
Dennis, Emmanuel Watford FC 7
Ronaldo, Cristiano Manchester United 7
Mane, Sadio Liverpool FC 7
Silva, Bernardo Manchester City 7
Raphinha Leeds United 7
Mount, Mason Chelsea FC 6
Antonio, Michail West Ham United 6
Gallagher, Conor Crystal Palace 6
Son, Heung Min Tottenham Hotspur 6
Wilson, Callum Newcastle United 6
Maupay, Neal Brighton & Hove Albion 6
Fernandes, Bruno Manchester United 5
King, Joshua Watford FC 5
Gray, Demarai Everton FC 5
Smith-Rowe, Emile Arsenal FC 5
Pukki, Teemu Norwich City 5
Cornet, Maxwel Burnley FC 5

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