Mikel Arteta explains Arsenal team selection as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang starts on bench against Wolves

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Arsenal - Premier League
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang starts on the bench for Arsenal’s clash with Wolves (Picture: Getty)

Mikel Arteta admits he was tempted to start Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang up front against Wolves but in the end decided to name him on the bench, with the striker having to quarantine ahead of this evening’s Premier League clash.

Club captain Aubameyang missed Arsenal’s last two matches versus Southampton and Manchester United in order to be with his mother, who has been struggling with health issues.

But the 31-year-old forward was pictured in training with the rest of his team-mates on Monday and is an option as a substitute at Molineux.

Bukayo Saka, who had been struggling with a minor hip problem, replaces Gabriel Martinelli in the side’s only change from the weekend.

Asked whether he was tempted to play Aubameyang from the off, Arteta told BT Sport: ‘I was but he’s been off a couple of days because of quarantine rules.

‘He trained one day and he will be in good form soon.’

Arsenal Training Session
January arrival Odegaard starts on the bench versus Wolves (Picture: Getty)

Martin Odegaard is yet to make his full debut for the north London outfit and Arteta admitted the young midfielder ‘needs a little more time’ to adjust after arriving on loan from Real Madrid.

Asked whether he considered starting the Norwegian, Arteta replied: ‘Yes, when you see him train and how much they want to play and everybody’s pushing because they want to be involved you think about every possibility.

‘But it’s true that he hasn’t been here long enough and maybe he needs a little more time.’

Pressed on whether Odegaard is a direct rival to Emile Smith Rowe, the Spaniard responded: ‘They can play together, good players can play together.’

A win for Arsenal could see them leapfrog Aston Villa, Everton, Chelsea and Tottenham and rise to as high as sixth in the Premier League table.

Wolves, currently languishing down in 14th, could move above Crystal Palace with victory over the Gunners.

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