Skip to main content

Mikel Arteta believes Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is ready to star against Spurs

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has put an issue with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang behind him.
(Image credit: Will Oliver)

Mikel Arteta has backed Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to shine in Sunday’s clash with Tottenham having been dropped for the north London derby last season.

Aubameyang is expected to lead the line for the Gunners when they welcome their rivals to the Emirates Stadium.

The 32-year-old was rested for Wednesday’s 3-0 Carabao Cup third-round win over AFC Wimbledon but will be among a host of big names likely to come back into Arteta’s side.

He would have captained Arsenal in the previous north London derby in March but was axed from the side having breached the club’s pre-match protocol.

Aubameyang watched from the stands as Arsenal beat Tottenham last season.

Aubameyang watched from the stands as Arsenal beat Tottenham last season. (Julian Finney/PA)

Arteta’s decision paid off as Arsenal won 2-1 with Aubameyang remaining on the bench, the Spaniard saying after the victory that he dropped Aubameyang to sustain the club’s long-term “foundation”.

Aubameyang then left the stadium without completing a warm-down session on the pitch with the other unused substitutes.

But Arteta insists the issue has long-since been resolved and he has been pleased with Aubameyang’s season – despite the forward hitting just one Premier League goal so far.

“That was just an incident and I had to make a decision,” he said of dropping Aubameyang.

“I did that on the day and now I think Auba is in a different position. It doesn’t mean he was in a bad position at the time, it was just an incident that we as a team had some ways of living together – that wasn’t the case (from him at that time) and so we made a decision.

“Now he has been in really good form, I think the way he played at Burnley even though he didn’t score a goal, was extraordinary in the way he played for the team so we are expecting him to keep doing the same.”

Arsenal sat bottom of the Premier League ahead of the September international break – a fact made all the more galling with Tottenham topping the table at the time.

Their fortunes have differed recently, however, and a two-goal win for Arsenal would see them leapfrog Sunday’s visitors with Aubameyang the kind of player who can play a big part, according to Arteta.

Martin Odegaard hit the winner as Arsenal won at Burnley last weekend.

Martin Odegaard hit the winner as Arsenal won at Burnley last weekend. (Anthony Devlin/PA)

“You need a special moment and details a lot of the time decide these types of fixtures,” he replied when asked if a big game such as facing Spurs at home was a chance for Aubameyang to thrive.

“Big players do it normally, when they step in and are able to do it for the team normally the outcome becomes really positive.

“He has generated chances but we have to generate more, we have to put him through on more occasions when we know how it is going to end up and he is in good form.”

Arteta has a fully-fit squad to choose from on Sunday, with Granit Xhaka back in contention following suspension and a bout of Covid.

See more

“It is the most special game of the season at home, for sure,” Arteta added.

“It is a north London derby and emotionally it is a different one to play and we know how much it means for our supporters as well.

“Hopefully everyone is available, so good news. We have one more session before the game, but in general everyone is feeling good.”