Martin Keown urges Mikel Arteta to drop Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to set example to Arsenal squad

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang struggled to make an impact in Arsenal's defeat to Liverpool
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang struggled to make an impact in Arsenal’s defeat to Liverpool (BPI/REX)

Martin Keown believes Mikel Arteta is setting the wrong example to Arsenal’s squad by continuing to play Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang while he is out of form.

The Arsenal captain was one of the many who struggled to make an impact in the Gunners’ 3-0 defeat to Liverpool on Saturday.

Aubameyang has scored six goals in his last 10 Premier League appearances but Keown believes the striker ‘does not look a happy man’ whilst playing for Arteta.

And the former Arsenal defender feels Arteta should drop Aubameyang and place his trust in Gabriel Martinelli for the Gunners’ Europa League quarter-final first leg against Slavia Prague on Thursday.

‘If you look at the captain, a lot of focus on the captain, he doesn’t look a happy man on the football pitch at all,’ Keown told talkSPORT.

‘Not enjoying his football, stuck out on the left wing, his movement, he’s not offering a great deal going forward, he’s back too deep, the positions he’s taking up.

Martin Keown says Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 'does not look happy' at Arsenal
Martin Keown says Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang ‘does not look happy’ at Arsenal (Getty)

‘I think it’s maybe time to think about moving the captain out of the team.

‘In the Europa League he’s been different class, the number of goals he’s scored, maybe it’s a slower pace, maybe he’s got quite sharp enough at the moment for the Premier League.

‘A huge decision fort the manager to make for Thursday. You set an example when he’s late for training to the young players, but don’t you also do that when a senior player is not performing well enough on the pitch?

‘If they see him playing and he’s not really performing then I think it sets the wrong example to the group.

‘I don’t think he’s the same type of animal [as Mesut Ozil]. I think he’s a player, essentially, who loves his football.

‘Something at the moment is not right in his life, he doesn’t look a happy man at all if you look at his body language, the smile has gone, the bounce has gone.

‘Somehow the manager has got to get that back, or he goes in a different direction.

‘It’s better if he doesn’t play. He’s got the youngster Martinelli. We’re hearing Odegaard talking about young players, prospects for the future [at Arsenal], he’s been in a Real Madrid dressing room with all sorts of players, saying he [Martinelli] the best young player he’s seen in years. Well, he [Martinelli] doesn’t play for Arsenal, he only trains, so if he’s sitting on the bench surely it’s time to give him a game, particularly if Aubameyang is not up for it or in the mood.’

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