Mikel Arteta has described the three match suspension of club captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as a ‘big loss’ but urged Alexandre Lacazette to step up in his strike partner’s absence.
Aubameyang is facing a stint on the sidelines after he received a red card against Crystal Palace last weekend, following a poor tackle on German midfielder Max Meyer.
The Gabon international has been crucial for Arsenal this season, scoring 14 of their 29 Premier League goals this season and starting all 22 of their league fixtures, though the club were unsuccessful in their bid to shorten the standard three-match ban.
“It has been confirmed that he is going to be suspended for three games,” Arteta said at his pre-match press conference.
“So we’re not going to have the player for the next three fixtures.
“It’s a big shame and a big loss for us, because as well we know Auba’s intention when he plays. But unfortunately, he mistimed the tackle, he made a decision and we have to accept it.”
That's an absolutely shocking tackle from Aubameyang. Red card is the correct decision. 🤦♂️ pic.twitter.com/IvNlHauzjn
— FutbolBible (@FutbolBible) January 11, 2020
“Auba has been around, he was very sad after the game. He was disappointed that he left the team with 10 men,” Arteta added.
“It’s an action that is completely accidental in my opinion. He’s been superb under me, he’s trained really well, he’s working so hard. He’s scoring goals and has probably been the most important player on the team. So to lose him, obviously, is really bad news for us.”
One player that Arteta will be hoping can step up is fellow striker Alexandre Lacazette, who has managed just five league goals this season.
The France international is yet to find the back of the net since the arrival of the Gunners’ new head coach, who is hoping that he will start scoring again in Aubameyang’s absence.
“You can help him by talking to him and giving him confidence, but that ball has to end up in the net,” Arteta admitted. “I think that’s the best medicine for strikers.
“What we have to try to do is put Laca in positions where he can have as many opportunities to do that as possible during a game.”
Arsenal face Sheffield United in their next league match on Saturday afternoon at the Emirates, the Blades having beaten the Gunners at Bramall Lane earlier this season.