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Mikel Arteta admits Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been 'emotionally drained'


Mikel Arteta admits Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been ’emotionally drained’ since his mother was struck by illness – but the Arsenal boss is confident he can help them down Aston Villa in crucial game in race for a top-six spot

  • Mikel Arteta said Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been ’emotionally drained’ 
  • The Gunners captain’s mother has been struck by illness in recent weeks
  • Aubameyang recently thanked Arsenal’s fans for the support during absence 

Mikel Arteta admits Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was left ’emotionally drained’ after his mother was struck by illness.

Aubameyang returned for the midweek defeat by Wolves, having trained alone and missed three matches due to the family heartache.

Arteta hopes he will be ready to contribute again in Saturday’s trip to Aston Villa, despite being weighed down by painful baggage in recent weeks.

Mikel Arteta admitted Arsenal star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been 'emotionally drained'

Mikel Arteta admitted Arsenal star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been ’emotionally drained’

The Gunners captain's mother has been struck by illness in recent weeks

The Gunners captain’s mother has been struck by illness in recent weeks

‘It’s been tough because when you see a member of your family suffering and going through a difficult period, it drains you emotionally and you have to be close to them,’ the Arsenal manager said.

‘It was difficult. He wants to be here, he wants to be training, he doesn’t want to miss football matches… he wants to play every minute of every single competition. So he was having the responsibility to be with his family but at the same time he wanted to be here. 

‘He was training on his own and I think he’s managed that really well.’ 

The 31-year-old forward recently thanked Arsenal’s fans for the support they showed during his absence.

Aubameyang returned for the defeat by Wolves having trained alone and missed three games

Aubameyang returned for the defeat by Wolves having trained alone and missed three games

Aubameyang recently thanked Arsenal's fans for the support they showed him during absence

Aubameyang recently thanked Arsenal’s fans for the support they showed him during absence

‘When things are difficult and you are away from that place you think, “Are they thinking of me? Are they supporting me?” And the answer is a big “yes”.

‘He’s a player that is very much liked and respected because of his character and for what he’s done at the club. He totally deserved that support.’ 

Even with Aubameyang ready to return, Arteta’s options are now more limited after Arsenal let several players leave during the January winner.

Academy graduates Joe Willock and Ainsley Maitland-Niles left on loan – to Newcastle and West Brom, respectively – having fallen below the likes of Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe in the pecking order.

Arteta suggested their long-term futures will be determined at the end of the season. ‘I expect all the loans that they come back and we make a decision in the summer,’ he said.

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