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Arsenal’s Arteta reveals why Aubameyang was allowed to join Afcon-bound Gabon early

07:35 GMT 01/01/2022
Arteta, Aubameyang
The Gunners boss explains the decision to allow the 32-year-old striker to join the Brazilians early enough ahead for the African competition

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has explained why striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was allowed to link up with the Gabon national team early ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.

The 33rd edition of the African competition will kick off on January 9 and with several clubs in Europe still holding onto their players, the 32-year-old striker has already linked up with the Brazilians ahead of the showpiece.

Aubameyang has not featured for the North London side in the last five matches in all competitions after he was dropped from the team for breach of discipline.

His last appearance for the Gunners came as a substitute in the 2-1 defeat against Everton at Goodison Park and his last goal for the team came in the 3-1 win against Aston Villa at Emirates Stadium on October 22.

Ahead of Arsenal’s Premier League fixture against Manchester City on Saturday, Arteta was asked why he let Aubayemang travel to Afcon early.

“We had a letter from the national team asking permission to get the player and the player wasn’t going to get involved today so, for his fitness and to keep competing, it was the right thing to do,” Arteta told the club’s official website.

On Aubameyang’s situation when he returns back from Afcon, Arteta explained: “At the moment he has gone [to Afcon]. He needs to focus on the national team, and we had the conversation that was the best possible way to do it.

“I said before, we will address [his situation] game-by-game.”

On if Arsenal’s recent run of good results justifies the decision against the former Borussia Dortmund player, Arteta said: “For me, it’s not about being right or wrong it’s about making the decision that you believe and deal with the consequences of what you are asking to do and I made that decision and as I said, it will go game-by-game.”

In his absence, Arsenal defeated Southampton 3-0, West Ham United 2-0, Leeds United 4-1, they also hammered Sunderland 5-1 in the Carling Cup and beat Norwich City 5-0.

Aubameyang, who was stripped of the Arsenal captaincy owing to the disciplinary issue, is expected to lead Gabon at Afcon where they have been drawn in Group C alongside Comoros, Thomas Partey’s Ghana and Morocco.