Martin Keown insists Mikel Arteta was RIGHT to make a ‘big statement’ by dropping Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for Slavia Prague clash after Arsenal striker’s anonymous display in miserable Liverpool defeat
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta sent a crucial message to his players by dropping captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on Thursday night, according to Martin Keown.
The Gunners striker was a key lowlight in what Keown described as ‘the most disappointing performance under Arteta’, as Liverpool brushed aside a lacklustre Arsenal on Saturday.
Willian came in to replace Aubameyang for the Europa League quarter-final clash with Slavia Prague, with the captain coming on as a substitute in the 78th minute in the 1-1 draw.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was benched by Mikel Arteta for Arsenals’ Slavia Prague clash
The striker had a miserable game against Liverpool and was one of the worst performers
The Gabon international injected energy into the side, with Keown insisting it was ‘the real Aubameyang’ who appeared despite missing a sitter.
However, the ex-Gunners centre back still believes Arteta was right to drop his star man.
‘It’s a big statement,’ Keown said on BT Sport.
‘Recently he left him out for being late for training. Now it’s for his performance, and that’s more important to me.
Martin Keown believes Mikel Arteta sent a message to his players by dropping the skipper
Aubameyang came on and missed a sitter but gave his team a lift with the energy he brought
‘It sets a bigger example and the players know that nobody is exempt from being chopped from the side if the captain is being dropped. I think that’s right.
‘We know his mother has not been well so we don’t want to be critical but when you step onto the pitch you have to be professional and he’s fallen some way short of the performances he’s capable of.
‘There’s now opportunities for someone else.’
The Gunners conceded a last-minute equaliser at the Emirates, handing Slavia a crucial away goal ahead of the second-leg in Prague next week.