Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is not available for Arsenal’s Premier League match at Leeds on Saturday, says manager Mikel Arteta.
Arteta stripped Aubameyang of the Arsenal captaincy after a disciplinary breach and has also decided to make the striker train apart from the rest of the first-team squad.
Aubameyang has been dropped for the previous two matches and Arteta was unable to shed any light on when he may return and, although the Arsenal boss was able to confirm that the Gabon striker would be sitting out Saturday’s trip to Leeds – live on Sky Sports Premier League – he otherwise remained tight-lipped on the situation.
“No he’s not available for selection,” said Arteta, who batted away questions on Aubameyang’s future.
Asked how he had coped with the fallout of taking the armband from Aubameyang, Arteta said: “Every time that you are sitting here, you have some challenges.
“You have some brilliant moments and some moments when you have to make decisions.
“I am sitting here to try to make the right decisions every day. My only intention is that – to get the club in the best possible condition, to defend our players and get the best possible results on the pitch that we can.
“It’s been challenging because those decisions are tough and not pleasant, but you have to do what you feel is right.”
‘A difficult road back for Auba now’ – Smith
Sky Sports pundit Alan Smith…
It looks a difficult road back for Aubameyang at Arsenal.
When you do what you do to the captain of the club, and from the outside looking in, quite rightly Arteta has done it.
You wonder what Aubameyang’s state of mind will be now. It didn’t seem great in the first place in terms of his confidence out on the pitch.
I still think he’s got about 18 months left on his deal and I’m sure at this point Arteta would like to sell him, but somebody on £350,000-a-week is going to be virtually impossible to move on, unless they do what they did with Mesut Ozil and give him a shed load of money and he’d have to accept less money elsewhere.
It’s a problem and a problem Arteta didn’t need, but now it’s a big challenge for Arsenal to rebuild their attack and it is going to depend on some very clever and inspired recruitment.
Arteta wants more clarity over Covid postponements
Arteta has called for more clarity from the Premier League over the growing number of games being postponed because of coronavirus outbreaks at clubs.
The English Football League has also been badly hit by the latest wave of infections across the country, with 14 games affected across its three divisions so far.
Arsenal saw their opening game of the new season go ahead at Brentford despite having a number of positive cases in the squad.
Arteta said: “We need more clarity on why those games are not being played and what you need to not have a game played, so you can maintain the fairness of the competition.
“We have been here on the other side of the table (at the start of the season) where we had all the arguments in the world to not play a football match and we ended up playing it.”
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