Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is uncertain whether captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will be available to face Southampton on Tuesday, after the Gabonese striker missed Saturday’s trip to St. Mary’s due to personal reasons.
The 31-year-old had travelled with his teammates for the FA Cup clash this weekend, but was sent home on Saturday morning. The Gunners felt his absence, failing to defend their trophy in a 1-0 defeat to their south coast hosts.
Arsenal welcome Southampton to the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday evening – this time as part of their Premier League duties – but coach Arteta may be forced to make do without his captain Aubameyang once again.
And the Spaniard has admitted that he ‘doesn’t know’ when Aubameyang will return, leaving questions marks surrounding his return date for the north London side.
“He had a personal matter in the last few hours, we have had to send him back,” Arteta stated.
“I don’t know (when Aubameyang will return). He needs to address that issue, we’ll see how it evolves.
“We’re here and we have to support him and he needs to take the time that is needed because that is a priority at the moment.”
Aubameyang’s absence will come as a huge blow for Arteta, after his forward returned to form at just the right time, helping Arsenal turn a corner after a miserable few weeks at the Emirates Stadium. The captain scored a brace in his last outing against Newcastle United, and his improvements have seen the Gunners jump back into the top half of the Premier League.
The Gunners will be desperate for their talisman to return to the fold during the week ahead of their huge clash with Manchester United on Saturday evening.
It was clear that the team suffered without Aubameyang on Saturday, going down 1-0 to a resolute Southampton, falling at the fourth round of their FA Cup defence.