How Arsenal players reacted to Mikel Arteta dropping ‘furious’ Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang looks on during Arsenal's Premier League clash with Tottenham
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was an unused substitute in Arsenal’s 2-1 win over Spurs (Picture: Getty)

Senior members of Arsenal’s squad reportedly backed Mikel Arteta’s decision to drop Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from the starting XI after the striker turned up late for Sunday’s north London derby.

Aubameyang, 31, Arsenal’s captain since November 2019, started the club’s previous two matches with Burnley and Olympiakos but was surprisingly replaced in the side to face Tottenham by Alexandre Lacazette, who went on to score the winner at the Emirates.

The Gabon forward had already been warned about his poor time-keeping this season and Arteta, keen not to send out the wrong message to his younger players, opted to take the hardline approach.

According to The Daily Mail, Aubameyang was ‘furious’ with his manager’s ruthlessness and rejected the chance to take part in Arsenal’s customary post-match warm-down with his fellow substitutes, departing the stadium just 23 minutes after the final whistle had been blown.

However, the report claims influential figures in the dressing room remain fully supportive of Arteta and understand his decision to axe their skipper and top goalscorer.

The Spaniard refused to elaborate any further on the story behind Aubameyang’s absence and instead told reporters that he wanted to draw a line under the episode.

It remains to be seen whether the attacker will be recalled for the second leg of Arsenal’s Europa League last-16 tie with Olympiakos on Thursday evening.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang looks on in warm-up ahead of Arsenal's Premier League clash with Tottenham
Aubameyang made a quick exit after the final whistle at the Emirates (Picture: Getty)

Ray Parlour was also supportive of Arteta’s handling of the situation and urged Aubameyang’s team-mates to ‘have a little word’ with him behind the scenes.

‘I totally agree with Mikel Arteta, nobody is bigger than the team,’ the ex-Arsenal and England midfielder told talkSPORT.

‘I know Aubameyang is a very important player, captain as well, you’ve got to lead by example, but there’s no excuse for being late is there?

‘I should imagine they would have been in a hotel. Whether it’s for training, I don’t know. Whether it’s the day before for training or the day of the game, I’m not too sure about the whole story.

Ray Parlour pictured on Arsenal Pre-Season Tour of the United States
Arsenal legend Parlour ‘totally agrees’ with how Arteta handled the situation (Picture: Getty)

‘I think Mikel Arteta did a really good interview after the game: “Look, it’s dealt with, I’ve had words with him and now he’s ready for selection for Olympiakos on Thursday. Matter’s closed”.

‘And that’s what you’ve got to do, it stays in the dressing room.

‘Why should Arteta come out and start opening a can of worms and saying, “He was late for this, doing this and doing that”, the public don’t need to know that.

‘The matter has been dealt with and now everyone will be a little bit scared and saying, “We can’t be late now!”, because if he gets away with it and then someone else is late and they get dropped, then there’s a problem in the dressing room.’

I think it was exactly the right thing to do. The manager is the manager, nobody is bigger than the club,’ the ex-England international added.

‘It could have gone wrong but you’ve got to stamp your authority and say: “Look, you can’t do that!”

‘I think it’s disrespectful for the other players as well.

‘If everyone else is on time every day and then someone keeps being late, I wouldn’t like it as a player.

‘I think the players have got to be having a little word with him behind the scenes. Just leave 15 minutes earlier!’

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