Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang admits fitness concerns before Arsenal host Villarreal

Newcastle United v Arsenal - Premier League
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will play on Thursday but is not at full fitness (Picture: Getty Images)

Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang admits he is not fully fit, but will be ready to start Arsenal’s all-important Europa League semi-final second leg against Villarreal on Thursday night.

The Gunners find themselves 2-1 down in the tie after the first leg in Spain last week after an eventful contest which saw both sides lose a man to a red card.

Aubameyang came off the bench in that match and started the Premier League win over Newcastle at the weekend, but still says he is not at 100 per cent after his recent bout of malaria, which saw him miss most of April.

When asked if he feels ready for the match on Thursday, he said: ‘I would say 90 per cent.

On whether he could start the match, Aubameyang added: ‘Yeah definitely yes, when it’s important like this, of course.

‘In my mind I feel more than 100 per cent, but physically maybe I’m not 100 per cent, but I’m quite there. Hopefully my body will respond well.

‘I’m ready, definitely in my mind I am ready.’

The 31-year-old went into detail about how the malaria affected him, saying he lost over eight pounds in weight during the illness.

‘I was feeling very, very bad. I think this was the worst moment of being sick in my life,’ said the Gabonese striker.

‘It was really hard for three days in a row. Fever all day and all night non-stop. Even the Paracetemol had no effect on this.

‘After that I spoke to the doctor. said I needed to go to the hospital, I had travelled to Africa so thought it was something like malaria.

Arsenal FC v Slavia Praha - UEFA Europa League Quarter Final: Leg One
Aubameyang has sat out much of the last month (Picture: Getty Images)

‘I stayed in hospital for three days, I was really down and I think I lost four kilos

‘It was a really bad moment and I think my family was a bit scared to see me like this.

‘After that I had some good treatment, the staff and the doctors did very well in the hospital.’

Nicolas Pepe’s second-half penalty in the first leg has given Arsenal substantial hope in the second leg after they fell behind to two first-half goals in Spain.

A 2-0 win over Newcastle in the Premier League at the weekend will have boosted morale and they will be confident of overturning the first leg deficit.

MORE : Dani Ceballos makes decision over Arsenal future

MORE : Unai Emery responds to criticism of Arsenal ‘killer’ Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Follow Metro Sport across our social channels, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

For more stories like this, check our sport page.

No comments