Graham Potter has played down the significance of Chelsea’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang facing former side Arsenal this weekend.
Aubamayang will take on his former team for the first time since leaving the Emirates last winter, with the forward stripped of the captain’s armband at Arsenal under Mikel Arteta.
It was a sour end to his time with the north Londoners, one that proved successful as Aubameyang scored 92 goals in 163 appearances and captained Arsenal to FA Cup success in 2020.
He departed on a free transfer for Barcelona, before returning to the Premier League with Chelsea during the summer. A video was later leaked on social media, in which Aubameyang criticised Arteta and questioned the Arsenal manager’s ability to handle strong dressing room characters.
Ahead of this weekend’s London derby between the clubs, Potter has discussed Aubameyang’s first reunion with the Gunners.
“A big game. It’s a London derby. Two good teams,” the Chelsea boss said at his pre-match press conference. “Arsenal are doing really well.
“History makes it an interesting one for Auba, but the past is the past. We’re just looking at the game.”
It was suggested that Aubameyang’s character will make him determined to put in a statement showing against his former side, though Potter was keen to keep the pre-match narrative about the team rather than individuals.
“We shouldn’t make it about him. It’s about the team,” he said. “He’s an important part of the team. For us to get the result we want, that takes everyone, not just one person.
“I understand the headlines and interest is around him because it’s Arsenal and there’s a narrative around that. There’s nothing we can do about that. But as a team and a group, we have to play well ourselves.”
However, Potter doesn’t think Aubameyang has something to prove against his former side.
“I don’t think so,” he said. “I think he’s looking forward to the game, excited for it. He’s been pretty normal from what I’ve seen. He’s quite a quiet guy. I’m sure come match day he’ll be determined.”