Mikel Arteta dropped a pre-match bombshell when interviewed by Sky Sports reporter Patrick Davison, admitting that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been dropped for Arsenal due to a ‘disciplinary issue’.
Aubameyang was one of three changes to the Arsenal side that started the Europa League victory against Olympiacos on Thursday night ahead of this afternoon’s derby against rivals Spurs.
Arteta told Davison that Aubameyang, Arsenal’s captain, was ‘going to start’ in the North London derby, but stated that the club have ‘drawn the line’ after the matter and dropped the skipper to the bench.
The highly-respected former Arsenal captain turned manager added that the rest of the details will be kept ‘internally’ but commented that there’s a ‘process’ that everyone has to ‘respect’ for matches.
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BREAKING: Mikel Arteta confirms Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been dropped for the NLD due to disciplinary issues pic.twitter.com/4M8r5DXdij
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) March 14, 2021
“He was going to start the game, we had a disciplinary issue. We have drawn the line and we move on, he is on the bench.”
Interviewer: “Is there any more you can tell us?”
“No, obviously we keep that internally. We have a process we have to respect for every game and that’s it.”
Interviewer: “If it’s a discipline issue, did you consider dropping him from the squad altogether?
“It’s a decision made after evaluating everything and who Auba is and what he’s done and that’s it.”
Interviewer: “How big a blow is it to not have him from the start then?”
“We’ve got other players that we played, we’ve had to change the team recently quite a lot. There are a lot of players that are willing to play and deserve the chance, I’m comfortable with that.”
Arteta summarised the interview by stating that he is ‘comfortable’ with the decision, in regards to heading into such a massive encounter without their highest-profile player starting from the get-go.
This isn’t ideal for Aubameyang at all, who was slammed less than a month ago for flouting Covid-19 restrictions to have new tattoo inked, one which the striker covered as he bagged a hat-trick vs Leeds.