Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta was quizzed about a selection headache he is about to face ahead of his side’s trip to Villa Park on Saturday.
The Gunners’ seven-game unbeaten run came to an end on Tuesday as Wolves came from behind to beat our nine-man side. As disappointing as the result was, Arteta would have been really pleased with his side’s performance in the first half.
Arsenal dominated the game until David Luiz got himself a red card. We could easily have been 4-0 up at that point, but sadly, Nicolas Pepe’s wonder striker was all we had at the break.
The Ivorian was replaced by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang at the hour mark and many fans feel that our skipper will start in place of Pepe against Aston Villa on Saturday.
However, Arteta has claimed in his press conference today that he will play players ‘who are in the best form’. If that is any sort of a hint, Pepe should keep his place this weekend.
Arteta said, as per Arsenal.com: “At the end of the day, we have to play the players who are in the best form and everybody has to earn the right to play and participate in the games.
“That’s what everybody’s doing, pushing each other to raise the level. You can see that the level has been raised because everybody is playing at their best. There’s still room for improvement so everybody has to keep pushing.”
Arsenal Insider’s view:
Leaving out your skipper, best attacker and the deadliest goalscorer is never ideal. However, Auba just doesn’t have a place in this side at the moment because of how well his teammates have fared in his absence.
Bukayo Saka has made the right-wing spot his own, while Pepe – surprisingly – has played really well on the left. The Ivorian now has two goals in his last three starts, and it would be really unfair to drop him.
Arteta should stick by Pepe on Saturday. Aubameyang will get his chance soon, but for now, he needs to make his mark off the bench to displace one of our two in-form wingers.