Mikel Arteta’s hard line decision to drop Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from his starting line-up against Tottenham has been supported by the club’s senior players, claims a report.
The Gunners’ No 9 was “angered” by Arteta’s to drop him to the bench, according to the Daily Mail, after he reported late for the north London derby on Sunday.
Aubameyang got caught in traffic and was late to meet up with the rest of the squad and Arteta was in no mood to mess around. He immediately informed the club captain he was dropped.
The striker was “deeply irritated” at the move, and the fact that he remained on the sidelines throughout the 2-1 win.
As a result the striker did celebrate on the pitch at full-time and did not take part in the post-match warm-down with the other substitutes, reports The Athletic. While they also claimed he was one of the first players to leave The Emirates.
He remains though a “very popular” member of the squad and “is hugely influential”.
However, the paper claim a “well-placed source” said Aubameyang actions were “unacceptable”. The report also adds that “key members” of the squad believe Arteta “made the correct decision”.
Arteta did not want to speak publicly about the incident afterwards, but he is understood to have been happy to make the incident public initially as a warning to his squad.
Arteta told his post-match press conference: “We draw a line there. Now let’s move on again. We know how important Auba is for us, for the club. That’s it. That’s been dealt with so let’s move on.”
Aubameyang is expected to be fined by the club, and when asked whether Aubameyang accepted his punishment, Arteta said: “I hope he did, yeah.”
Dangerous precedent being set by Arteta
Meanwhile, Match of the Day host Gary Lineker felt Arteta was setting a dangerous precedent by dropping Aubameyang.
The Gunners came from behind to beat Tottenham 2-1 and keep alive their hopes of securing European football next season.
However, all the talk after the game was about Arteta’s decision to drop Aubameyang. That decision came after he was late for a team meeting ahead of the game.
Pictures later emerged of Aubameyang stuck in traffic in Muswell Hill trying to get to Emirates Stadium. However, it was then claimed that Aubameyang’s tardiness wasn’t the first time – forcing Arteta to act.
Nonetheless, the punishment drew criticism from Lineker, who hinted Arteta now must act the same way to others.
“Can’t be, surely? You fine players for being late, not drop them,” the former England striker tweeted.