The absence of the Gabon captain did not stop Mikel Arteta’s side from cruising to a crucial win at Bramall Lane
Following their 3-0 hammering of Sheffield United, Arsenal have now won four of their six Premier League matches without Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang this season.
They have won 66.6 per cent of their six league matches without Aubameyang – four wins, a draw and a loss compared to 36 per cent of nine wins in the 25 league games he has featured in so far in this campaign.
The 31-year-old reportedly missed Sunday’s game at Bramall Lane with the flu, but his absence did not stop Arsenal from ending their four-game winless run in all competitions.
Alexandre Lacazette’s double and Gabriel Martinelli’s effort secured maximum points for the Gunners which saw them move to ninth in the Premier League table.
Ivory Coast’s Nicolas Pepe and Ghana’s Thomas Partey played the entire duration for the visitors while Egypt midfielder Mohamed Elneny came off the bench to replace Martinelli in the 83rd minute.
Sunday’s triumph also came as a relief for Arsenal as they grabbed their first-ever Premier League win at Bramall Lane at the fifth attempt since April 1991.
Despite his absence, Aubameyang remains a key player in Mikel Arteta’s set-up and he is the Gunners’ second top scorer after Lacazette with 14 goals across all competitions, including nine Premier League efforts.
It remains to be seen if the Gabon international will be fully fit for Arsenal’s important Europa League quarter-final return fixture against Slavia Prague on Thursday.
They were held to a 1-1 draw by their Czech visitors last week at the Emirates Stadium. Next up for Arsenal after the continental outing, is a Premier League home fixture against Fulham on April 18.
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The 31-year-old missed the Gunners’ emphatic victory at Sheffield but he is expected to be in contention for Thursday’s crucial outing in Prague
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has disclosed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will be available for their Europa League trip to Slavia Prague on Thursday.
Aubameyang did not make the Gunners’ trip to Bramall Lane on Sunday because he felt ‘unwell’ a day before their Premier League match against Sheffield United.
In his absence, Alexandre Lacazette’s brace and Gabriel Martinelli’s lone goal steered Arsenal to a comfortable 3-0 away win.
Last week, they were held to a 1-1 draw at the Emirates Stadium after a stoppage-time header from Tomas Holes cancelled out Nicolas Pepe’s opener.
When asked if Aubameyang will make the trip to Prague this week, Arteta told the club website : “I hope so yes. He was unwell yesterday, he could not train, he could not be available today but hopefully in the next day or two he will be feeling better and he will be available to get picked.”
Aubameyang started last Thursday’s game on the bench but he was later introduced in the 78th minute and he provided the assist that helped Pepe break the deadlock.
The Gabon captain is yet to find the back of the net for Arsenal since his opening goal in a 1-1 Premier League draw with Burnley on March 6.
Despite his struggles in front of goal, the 31-year-old’s presence might be a boost for Arteta’s side as he is the second top scorer in the team, after Lacazette, with 14 goals scored so far in all competitions.
Arsenal are faced with a growing injury list after Bukayo Saka limped off with a thigh injury against Sheffield United. While Martin Odegaard is a doubt, David Luiz and Kieran Tierney are ruled out of Thursday’s crucial game.
Arteta continued: “Yes [I feel unlucky]. I don’t know the extent [of Bukayo’s injury]. I think for certain David will be out. Kieran will be out and then with Martin, we don’t know yet. Bukayo, we’ll see how he develops in the next few days.”
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Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang may once again be the club’s top scorer this season – but that may no longer guarantee him a place in the starting XI. Aubameyang is off it compared to his usual high standard, having netted just 14 goals in all competitions this term. His great mate and direct rival Alexandre Lacazette is one behind on 13 but offers the side so much more.
Uproar from Arsenal fans quickly turned to joy as the Gunners beat their local rivals 2-1 without the Gabon international stepping onto the pitch.
Arsenal have relied on Aubameyang in recent seasons and he almost single-handedly led them to last season’s FA Cup triumph.
But it may well have come to the time where the unthinkable happens and Arteta does not view the 31-year-old as part of his best X
The match against Spurs was a perfect example of that. Arsenal put in one of their best performances of the campaign and should have won by more than a one-goal margin.
Emile Smith Rowe was sensational drifting in off the left-hand side, allowing Kieran Tierney to bomb on as he does so well.
Martin Odegaard has started to show why Real Madrid signed him as a 16-year-old, and despite an off-colour couple of matches, Bukayo Saka remains one of the first names on the team sheet.
The future of Lacazette remains doubtful, with the Frenchman turning 30 in May and with his contract expiring next year.
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Barcelona have been offered the chance to sign Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette through his agent, a report from Calciomercato claims.
The Frenchman has been with the Gunners since 2017 and has accumulated 59 goals and 28 goals from 158 appearances.
Despite the impressive tally, he has struggled for consistency over an entire season, and there is speculation that he could be on the move this summer.
Lacazette’s current deal expires in less than 16 months, and the Gunners have yet to open negotiations over a contract renewal.
It is now claimed that the 29-year-old is open to leaving the north London club, and his representative has offered his services to Barcelona and Juventus.
Lacazette has reached double figures in terms of goals in his four seasons with the club, but he has yet to achieve a 20-goal campaign.
Under manager Mikel Arteta, he has been in-and-out of the starting line-up over the past year, and he may be assessing his options.
The Blaugrana are lacking the presence of a quality outright striker since the departure of Luis Suarez to Atletico Madrid last summer.
Martin Braithwaite has occasionally fulfilled the role for the club, but Lacazette would be an upgrade on the Dane if he moves to Camp Nou.
It appears unlikely that the Bianconeri will attempt to sign him, given they have Cristiano Ronaldo and Alvaro Morata in their ranks.
Morata has excelled since his loan move from Atletico Madrid with 16 goals, and the Serie A holders will attempt to sign him permanently instead.
Atletico could also be in the running to land Lacazette, having failed to sign him in 2017 due to a FIFA imposed transfer ban.
Lacazette is currently valued at £31.5 million,
Granit Xhaka came in for criticism for his role in the goal Arsenal conceded against Burnley at the weekend.
With the Gunners 1-0 up at Turf Moor and looking rather comfortable, Xhaka received the ball from Bernd Leno in his own penalty box and attempted to switch the ball out to his right-hand side in the direction of David Luiz.
However, the Swiss did not get enough on his attempted pass and could only watch on in horror as the ball cannoned against Chris Wood’s hip and into the back of Leno’s net.
With that said, there has been a debate as to who was at fault between Leno and Xhaka.
Whilst former Arsenal defender Martin Keown blamed Leno, Sky Sports pundit and Manchester United legend Gary Neville leapt to the defence of the goalkeeper.
“I think ultimately goalkeepers play better than some outfield players would have done 20 years ago,” he said on The Gary Neville Podcast. “The game has changed and it should change. We should welcome these changes.
“Gone are the days now where I sit on Monday Night Football and would criticise Xhaka. I would criticise him for the execution, but not for the principle.
“For me what we are seeing is that this is normality – that players are going to play out from their own box, but the execution was wrong.
“The idea that he was given a bad pass by his goalkeeper, I don’t go along with that. That pass was expected to be given, they’re coached to give that pass there. Xhaka just gets it wrong.”
Mikel Arteta has admitted that he isn’t happy that he hasn’t been able to Arsenal forward Eddie Nketiah.
The 21 year-old has only been selected to start three Premier League matches this term, with around two-thirds of the campaign completed, in comparison to starting seven last season, despite only returning to the club in January.
Nketiah is currently on course to play less minutes in his first full season in the first-team squad than he did in around half the time last term, and you could understandably have questions as to why.
You have even more questions if the manager’s following comments ring true, with Arteta claiming that our youngster has done everything that has been asked of him and remained professional throughout.
MA said ahead of the Burnley clash this weekend (via Arsenal.com): “Well, when we’re talking about management, this is one of the hazards to leave someone like Eddie out of the squad, but at the moment everybody has been fit and we have so many options upfront. But it hurts as well because of how Eddie behaves and trains every day and because he’s a player from our academy, but he will have his chance.
“He needs to be patient and he’s showing no signs of lacking attitude or anything like that, it’s the complete opposite. He’s a joy to work with and he deserves minutes and if he doesn’t get it, it’s just my fault.
“Yeah, there is because he needs to play and we’ve been wanting to use him a little bit more on some occasions and we didn’t. To be fair, when he’s played, he’s played well, but at his age and for what he’s done the last two or three seasons, he needs more minutes. It’s something we have to talk about openly and make the right decision.”
Nketiah hasn’t really done much when coming off the bench in the PL this term, notching just one goal in his 14 league outings this term, but his time on the pitch has been limited.
I’m not sure why Eddie was allowed to play wider last season, but this season he has solely been played down the middle if there isn’t enough minutes to go around centrally, especially as some of his better matches were from playing wide in my opinion.
Nketiah certainly appears to have been mismanaged this term, and his treatment isn’t likely to help us in our bid to keep Folarin Balogun either, who is out of contract come the summer.
Has Nketiah done enough to warrant more starts? Is it Arteta’s fault for not providing enough minutes to build some level of form?
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The Uruguayan forward has been scoring freely for Atletico Madrid since leaving Barcelona
Luis Suarez has revealed the most disappointing aspect of his departure from Barcelona was that the club said he was too old to perform at the highest level.
Suarez left Barca for Atletico last September, in a transfer Camp Nou icon Lionel Messi described as ‘crazy’, and he has gone a long way to proving the club were hasty in their actions by firing his new team to the summit of La Liga.
The 34-year-old Uruguayan is happy in his new surrounds, despite admitting it was tough to uproot his family, but is still irked by being billed as too old.
“What really bothered me was when they told me that I was old and that I could no longer play at a high level, be up to [the task of fronting] a great team,” Suarez told France Football. “That’s what I did not like.”
Suarez claims his record stood up to the closest scrutiny, and that the club erred in signing players not on an elite level.
“If I hadn’t done anything at a club like Barca for three or four seasons, I would have understood,” he said. “But, every year at Barca, I scored more than 20 goals per season. I have always had good statistics, just behind Leo (Messi).
“Today, we can see that it is not easy to play at Barca … A lot of players who signed there did not have the level that was expected of them. Me, I played for six years at Barca maintaining a certain level and living up to what was expected of me.
“At Barca, circumstances have changed, the club needed changes. And I accepted it. The only thing that bothered me was the way [it happened]. I think I deserved some respect.
“It was a decision that I could not prevent. I felt like I was no longer being counted on, so with my pride I told myself that I was going to continue to show what I am worth. This is why the idea of going to Atletico, a competitive team, appealed to me.”
Suarez is correct in his statement that in every season at Barcelona, he scored upwards of 20 goals a season.
His peak campaign was in the 2015-16 season, when he netted an astonishing 59 goals in all competitions. It was a term in which he scored more goals than Messi, and won the European Golden Shoe.
His goals return was excellent in 2016-17 (36) and 2017-18 (31), but the trend was downward and in his final two seasons at the club he netted 23 and 21 goals.0:161:02
It could be argued Barca were justified in their decision, but the anger about the way in which it was handled has spurred the former Liverpool man on.
He has netted 16 goals for Atletico so far this term and they top the Liga table by three points – albeit their form has dipped in recent weeks with just one win from their last four games.
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The Manchester side have long been associated with the strange moniker of “the Red Devils”, but how did it come about?
Manchester United are most commonly known as “the Red Devils”, though they have taken on a slew of other nicknames throughout the history of the club.
It is “the Red Devils” moniker that has stuck, however, though its origin is interesting as the Manchester side weren’t always associated with the nickname.
Why are Man Utd known as “the Red Devils?”
Manchester United were actually known as “The Heathens” in the early days of the club, dating to when they were established in 1878. Back then, they were first known as “Newton Heath Football Club”.
They only renamed themselves as Manchester United in 1902 as part of their club rebrand, when their most common name was simply just “United”.
In 1945, when the legendary Sir Matt Busby took over the club, he introduced a wealth of youth players into the side which led to them being called “The Busby Babes” by the press.
After the tragedy of the Munich Air Disaster in 1958, however, which claimed 23 lives, and those of eight players – Geoff Bent, Roger Byrne, Eddie Colman, Duncan Edwards, Mark Jones, David Pegg, Tommy Taylor and Billy Whelan – the nickname “The Busby Babes” was deemed inappropriate and subsequently retired.
Busby, then, sought out a new nickname for the side, and drew inspiration from the English rugby side Salford that had toured France in the 1930s.
Their kit consisted of a red shirt, with the French press branding them as “Les Diables Rouges” – which translates to “the Red Devils”.
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Arsenal are investigating whether captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has breached the club’s strict Covid-19 protocols.
There are suggestions that the 31-year-old, who scored a hat-trick as the Gunners beat Leeds United 4-2 on Sunday , may have broken lockdown rules and the club’s bio secure bubble.
Gunners chiefs are planning talks with the forward after footage of him getting a new tattoo appeared on social media.
Aubameyang was filmed getting his new tattoo on the Instagram account of Spanish tattoo artist Alejandro Nicolas Bernal.
Neither Aubameyang or Bernal were wearing masks during the inking, which saw the Arsenal forward get the tattoo on his hand.
Current UK Government regulations state that all mobile and static tattoo parlours must remain closed during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
What have Arsenal said?
Arsenal have stated that they plan to sit down with Aubameyang to determine exactly what has gone on before deciding whether any further action is necessary.
A statement from the club said: “We will speak to the player about this matter and establish what has taken place.”
So what happens next?
Arsenal want to determine exactly when Aubameyang got the new tattoo, as that currently remains unclear.
No further action will be taken until the club ascertain for certain whether any rules have been broken and their own strict bio secure bubble has been breached.
The Gunners skipper missed games against Southampton and Manchester United before returning to the squad.
Speaking after he scored a hat-trick against Leeds on Sunday , he thanked the club and the fans for the support they had given him while he was away.
“It’s been a tough time for me but now it’s time to get my smile back, to win games and score goals,” he said.
“Everyone has given me a lot of love. I’m really proud to be a part of this family, so I have to say thank you to everyone at the club, and the fans as well because I received a lot of messages.
“I’m really happy and these goals are for them.”
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