Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has responded to critics who say the Gunners have found themselves in an “Ozil situation” with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
The Gunners striker’s time at the Emirates Stadium has been fruitful for the most part, but since signing a bumper new contract in September, he hasn’t done particularly well.
Aubameyang was especially lacklustre in his last three starts for Arsenal as he struggled against Olympiacos, West Ham and Liverpool.
It was therefore unsurprising to see the 31-year-old dropped for the Europa League quarter-final first leg against Slavia Prague.
Admittedly, Aubameyang did look fired up when he came off the bench and provided a perfectly weighted ball for Nicolas Pepe’s goal, but he also sidefooted wide after coming on, and Arsenal’s wastefulness cost them as they had to settle for a draw.
When asked by the Arsenal media team on Friday morning about critics saying Aubameyang is another Ozil contract situation, Arteta replied: “I am always positive about the future.
“I don’t want to think about things that happened in the past, or want to compare different situations and different personalities. I wouldn’t get dragged down by that.”
And when asked whether Aubameyang was committed, Arteta replied: “Totally”.
Arsenal have pretty much relied on Aubameyang in recent seasons and he led them to last season’s FA Cup triumph almost single-handedly.
However, he’s been off form for much of this season, and it looks as though Arteta has got to the point that he thinks he’d be better off without Aubameyang in the starting XI.
That said, Aubameyang is a quality player who Arteta has always been fond of, and surely his form will come back.