Mikel Arteta Handed Major Blow Hours Before 2021-22 Season Gets Underway

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette are set to miss Arsenal’s Premier League opener against Brentford on Friday night. 

Gunners captain Aubameyang has been absent from training for the past two days and is not expected to feature in Mikel Arteta’s side as they kickstart their 2021-22 campaign, while Lacazette is also reportedly out. 

The duo are unavailable for the Premier League curtain-raiser as they are both unwell, according to The Athletic.

The pair’s absence is a blow to the north London side with both, under normal circumstances, expected to start in the front three. 

Providing he is match fit, England starlet Bukayo Saka is likely to step into the Arsenal side to replace skipper Aubameyang down the left side.


The England international earned his first minutes of pre-season after his return from the Three Lions’ Euro campaign during Arsenal’s 1-0 defeat to Spurs at the weekend.

The 19-year-old could feature on the left side of the Gunners’ frontline with Nicolas Pepe playing on the right. 

Gabriel Martinelli could step up to replace Lacazette, however the Brazilian has only just returned from international duty with the Brazil at the Tokyo Olympics. 

Aubameyang underperformed last season, scoring just 15 goals in 39 appearances, and despite featuring in all six of Arsenal’s pre-season fixtures, the 31-year-old failed to find the net yet again.

Arteta spoke about the captain’s struggles in front of goal ahead of Arsenal’s opener at the Brentford Community Stadium. 

The Gunners boss admitted he was unsure if fans could expect a return to form from the captain in the upcoming season.

‘Last season and everything that happened individually, collectively and around the club, it was difficult to measure whether it was a trend or a one off,’ he said. 

‘Our job is to help the players get the best that they have and we know with him we are stronger because he scores goals and that’s one of the most important things in this game.’ 

Both Thomas Partey and Eddie Nketiah will also be absent after picking up ankle injuries during a pre-season friendly against Chelsea, while Gabriel Magalhaes is only expected to return in the coming weeks.

Arteta has been backed in the transfer window, spending £75million on new additions Ben White, Nuno Tavares and Albert Sambi Lokonga, all of which could see minutes on Friday.

The north London side will be hoping their reinforcements can help them improve on their eighth-place finish in the division last season.

Source: dailymail

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