October 22, 2021

‘Auba is having a difficult time’ – Arteta dedicates Southampton win to missing Arsenal striker

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The Gunners skipper was missing at St Mary’s, with the club putting his absence down to ongoing family reasons

Mikel Arteta dedicated Arsenal’s 3-1 win at Southampton on Tuesday night to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

The Gunners skipper was missing at St Mary’s, just as he was on Saturday for the FA Cup meeting between the sides, with Arsenal putting his absence down to ongoing family reasons.

Both Bukayo Saka and Alexandre Lacazette sent messages to Aubameyang following their goals – making it clear that the Gabon international was in their thoughts – much to the delight of Arteta.

“I love how they support each other and how they protect each other,” said the Arsenal boss. “Auba is having a difficult time and we are all behind him. This win was for him.”

Arteta wouldn’t give an update on Aubameyang’s situation ahead of Saturday’s meeting with league leaders Manchester United.

Kieran Tierney also sat out the win at Southampton on Tuesday night due to a leg injury and remains a doubt for the weekend.

“I don’t know,” Arteta said, when asked whether the Scotland international would be fit. “He wasn’t available against Southampton in the FA Cup. He was injured. He is still injured today. Let’s see how he progresses for the game against Man Utd.”

Arsenal go into Saturday’s game eighth in the table following a run of five wins from their last six league games. They are just five points off the top four and back in the hunt for a Champions League spot, but Arteta is not getting carried away by the recent upturn in form.

“I don’t want to really look at the table,” he said. “I want to look at ourselves and how we can get better and how we can get that consistency that we have been lacking. Tomorrow is another day, we’ll review the game, train, look at the many areas where we have two get better and see what we get.”

Arteta added: “To come to here [Southampton] and play the way we played against a real good side, I think we should be proud. It’s never easy to come here against this team.”

Arteta also revealed that he was “very positive” that a loan deal for Real Madrid midfielder Martin Odegaard would be wrapped up imminently.

The Norway international has been in England since Sunday evening and should soon complete his move.

“I think we are pretty close, but it’s not finalised as I understand it” said the Gunners boss. “I haven’t talked to Edu or the club in the last few hours. But we are very positive that we can finalise the deal.”