Arsenal has confirmed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been stripped of the Arsenal captaincy following his disciplinary breach last week. He was dropped from the squad in their 3-0 home win against Southampton on Saturday.
The club also confirmed the 32-year-old striker will not be considered for selection for their match against West Ham on Wednesday.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Stripped of Arsenal Captaincy
An update on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) December 14, 2021
Arsenal’s statement read: “Following his latest disciplinary breach last week, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will no longer be our club captain, and will not be considered for selection for Wednesday’s match against West Ham United.
“We expect all our players, particularly our captain, to work to the rules and standards we have all set and agreed.”
They added: “We are fully focused on tomorrow’s match.”
Mike Arteta’s sudden decision to sanction against his most senior player follows on from Aubameyang returning an extra day late from his trip to France. He was meant to come back on Wednesday but instead flew back on Thursday morning before reporting for training.
While it is believed the player arrived on time, Arsenal’s view is that the problem had already occurred. Confusing Covid-19 protocols meant Aubameyang believed taking a test before departure was sufficient. However, the latest set of guidance states you must record a negative PCR test in isolation before going anywhere, including the workplace.
As The Athletic reported, the rules of the trip were set out clearly and the player had broken them – disputing against those who said this could have been better communicated from the club. They also confirmed his tattoo on Friday, which was circulated on social media, was not a part of the breach and would have gone ahead anyway.
One of the foundations of Arteta’s two-year reign is the increased discipline that he requires from his players. This incident is another example of Arteta stamping the law and his authority onto his squad.
Troubled Season for Aubameyang
The first half of the season has been a time to forget for Aubameyang. He has scored just four league goals in 14 appearances. In the Europa League, he has better goals to game ratio with three goals in eight appearances.
Nonetheless, the latter record alone does not hide the striker’s misfortunes. Aubameyang has been guilty of missing clear cut chances too often.
Critics have increasingly emerged during the season and they have intensified due to Aubameyang being Arsenal’s highest-paid player. His three-year deal, signed in September 2020, is worth £55 million in total.
Where Arsenal’s and Aubameyang’s relationship goes from here will be a landmark in Arteta’s reign. It is by far the biggest statement he has made to his team, Arsenal fans and the media.
For Aubameyang, it will either be a new beginning at the club he wants to be a “legend” or the final nail in his spell at the Emirates.