Mikel Arteta thinks Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will probably head off on international duty this week and said it might not be a bad thing for the captain who could benefit from a goal.
Gabon has two AFCON qualification matches coming up during the Interlull. On Thursday, they face DR Congo at home and then four days later they are due to face Angola.
Given the second match would require Aubameyang to visit a country on the UK government’s travel ban ‘red list’ it’s unlikely Arsenal will sanction his participation because he’d then have to quarantine for 10 days on his return to London. It seems we will release him for the first though.
“We still have a few other issues with some players that are feeling some issues, so I don’t know.
“Unless some rules change or some countries are going to the red zone, I don’t know how the situation is going to be.”
A change of scenery might not be a bad thing for the captain. Out-of-sorts yesterday, he was substituted in the closing stages and was off the field when we equalised. Having missed the north London derby for disciplinary purposes and with a hattrick of misses to his name in the defeat to Olympiacos, it was a week to forget for Auba.
Asked if he’d rather Aubameyang stayed in London to focus on rest and recuperation, Arteta said:
“Well, you never know. Sometimes if they play a game and he scores and he is out of the environment and then comes back, sometimes it’s good to have him here because then we can train specifically on things that will be important. But it’s not in our hands.
“If he is allowed to go, he will go. If not, he will stay.”
The last time Aubameyang went on international duty he and his Gabon teammates were forced to spend a night sleeping on an airport floor due to a diplomatic row with opponents Gambia.
As things stand we believe the following Arsenal players will be going off on international for at least one game:
Leno, Runarsson, Tierney, Cedric, Saka, Odegaard, Elneny, Smith Rowe, Xhaka, Nketiah, Pepe (one game), Aubameyang (one game)
And these guys will report to training after a couple of days off:
Ryan, Bellerin, Gabriel, Holding, Chambers, Mari, David Luiz, Ceballos, Partey, Lacazette, Willian, Nelson, Martinelli