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Paul Merson urges Arteta to bring key player back for Slavia Prague vs Arsenal

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Former Arsenal star Paul Merson has urged Mikel Arteta to bring Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang back into the starting lineup against Slavia Prague tonight.

The Gabon star was benched last week and he missed the game on Sunday due to illness. Arteta claimed that he was hopeful that his skipper would be back for the trip to Prague, and Merson wants him to start if he’s available.

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The Sky Sports pundit has claimed that Arsenal simply have to play their best goalscorer in the club’s biggest game of the season. He believes that there’s no player at Arteta’s disposal who is a bigger threat in front of goal than Aubameyang.

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Merson told Sky Sports: “Something is going on with Aubameyang, though, I do not know what it is. It was their biggest game last Thursday and their biggest earner and name was sitting on the bench.

“If I need to win a football match and I know I will get chances there – I might not get many, but they will get chances Arsenal – I need my best goalscorer on the pitch.

“If he does not bring anything else to the party, he will put the ball in the back of the net. And even if he is four yards out and he taps it in, that is what you call a good goal because no one else is there to tap it in, he is the one there.

“He finds himself at the back post tapping them in and there is an art to that. So for me, he plays, as they have to win.”

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The Insider’s View:

It is still unclear if Aubameyang will be available to play tonight. Arteta wanted him to train yesterday, but there was no sign of him at London Colney, at least in the pictures that Arsenal released.

If Auba’s fit, it will be interesting to see what Arteta does.

It’s hard to justify dropping one of Alexandre Lacazette or Gabriel Martinelli after the pair won Arsenal the game against Sheffield United on Sunday.

However, Aubameyang changed the game when he came on with Nicolas Pepe last week. If Slavia play the same way, the Gabon star can be a huge asset for us thanks to his runs in behind. That could just tempt Arteta to start him ahead of Laca or Martinelli tonight.

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