Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta confirmed before kick-off on Saturday that captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang would not be involved against Southampton due to a “disciplinary offense”. Watch highlights of the match from Arsenal’s 3-0 win over Saints on Sky Sports digital platforms
Mikel Arteta said Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had been left out of Arsenal’s squad to face Southampton due to a disciplinary offense.
Asked why Aubameyang – who did not train with Arsenal on Friday – did not participate before the Premier League match in the Emirates, which Arsenal won 3-0, Arteta said: “Unfortunately due to a disciplinary offense.
“I think we’ve been very consistent that we have some non-negotiable things in the team that we’ve defined for ourselves as a club, and he’s not involved today.”
“It’s not an easy situation and it’s not one we want our captain to be,” Arteta added.
After the match, Arteta faced more questions from the media, but the Arsenal boss remained silent about the reasons for Aubameyang’s absence, declining to comment when asked if the striker had returned late from a trip abroad earlier in the week.
“You won’t get anything else from me,” he said. “Unfortunately this happened.”
“I explained what happened and why he wasn’t involved and that’s where I’m going to continue.”
When Arteta came under more pressure in his post-match press conference, he did not say whether Aubameyang would retain the Arsenal captain or whether he would return to face West Ham on Wednesday. However, there appears to have been a nod from the Gunners boss when asked if Aubameyang’s ban was for one match and if he would return to face the Hammers.
This is not the first time Arsenal have had to take action against Aubameyang.
Arteta dropped his captain on the bench in the north London derby against Tottenham in March due to delays. He was also reminded of his responsibilities by Arsenal back in February over a possible breach of Covid-19 regulations.
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On Friday, Arteta refuted claims that a problem was developing between the pair, following suggestions from Sky Sports Gary Neville that there was a brewing problem.
The Arsenal captain was named to the bench against Everton and came in just in the 85th minute, snatching late with his shot to continue his goalless run in the Premier League to six games.
“I think there will be a problem with Aubameyang at the back of this game,” Neville told Football Monday after Arsenal’s defeat to Everton. “I don’t think he would like the idea of Eddie Nkita coming before him. I don’t think he would like the idea of being a substitute, full stop.
“There’s always this little glitch between Arteta and Aubameyang. I know he’s the leader but he just leaves him out and it feels like a bit awkward, and it’s going to cause trouble.
“My guess is that if Arteta could probably get Aubameyang and he could get someone else, they probably would. And I bet if Aubameyang can go ahead, it probably is because it could turn out to be a bad thing.”
Although Arteta was adamant that any decisions were made purely in the best interest of the team, he admitted that the barren incantation in front of the goal undermined the striker’s confidence, saying: “Any decision is not personal but when a player does not score, it affects. Mood, confidence and faith – but you have to You try not to accept it and feel sorry for yourself.
“It’s all about the corrections and the moments and when you’re in good shape and you achieve the goals, then you try to keep them for as long as possible while trying to reduce the time you’re not in good shape.”
Sherwood: Absolute disgrace
Former Tottenham coach Tim Sherwood on Saturday:
“I think the manager is under a lot of pressure, but what he can’t stand is players throwing toys out of the pram and thinking ‘Because I’m on the bench at Everton I can do whatever I want’ and not hold back the play. The rest of the players I think is an absolute disgrace.
“The armband of a man who leads by example, he pulls everyone in the line.
“If he’s not a good talker, he has to lead by example. But he doesn’t set an example off the pitch and he’s not like that on the pitch.”
Questions remain about Aubameyang’s absence
Oliver UV Sky Sports:
Question after question came to Arteta from journalists wanting more information about Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s absence after Arteta revealed his captain had been fired for a “disciplinary offense”.
But Arteta refused to give up anything.
Arteta said: “He had a disciplinary breach, that goes for everyone. It’s non-negotiable and when that happens, he’s out of the team. Whatever happens in the dressing room, I can’t share it. I’m sorry. I’m saying you’re the reason, I can’t lie, it was.” This, this is where I stand. For my part, I will never say what the breach was.”
However, there are plenty of questions that remain unanswered as speculation mounts over Aubameyang’s future at Arsenal following his latest disciplinary breach at the club.
Will the Arsenal captain be available for this game? Is he still the Arsenal captain? Is there a problem between Arteta and Aubameyang?
When asked if Aubameyang’s absence was for one game and if he would return to West Ham, Arteta hinted that he would return to the team with a nod, but when asked about the captain, the Spaniard repeated: “Let’s talk about the game, thank you very much.”
There will be more questions to be asked of Arteta regarding his captain, starting with his pre-match press conference early next week ahead of the game against the Hammers, and Arteta may have to come up with the answers if he wants to avoid further distractions in the preparations of what is a huge game for Arsenal. In the race to qualify for the Champions League.