Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta denies Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang rift but concerned over goal drought

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  • Arsenal
    Arsenal
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  • Mikel Arteta
    Mikel Arteta
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  • Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
    Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
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 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Mikel Arteta has admitted his concern at Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s struggles in front of goal, but denies there is any rift between the pair.

The Gabon striker’s poor form continued with spurned chances in Thursday’s frustrating 3-2 defeat by Manchester United, while he also produced a miss of the season contender during the win over Newcastle last weekend.

Aubameyang has now failed to score in each of his last five matches, while three of the seven he has notched in all competitions so far this term came in the same match - the 6-0 Carabao Cup demolition of Championship side West Brom back in August.

“You are always [concerned] when your main striker isn’t scoring goals but he is trying his hardest,” Arteta said ahead of Monday night’s Premier League clash with struggling Everton at Goodison Park.

“He is aware of how much we need him as a team to score goals and at the moment, they are not coming but the rest of the things we are asking him to do, he is trying his best.”

Arteta substituted Aubameyang with 12 minutes to go against United at Old Trafford as Arsenal searched for a late equaliser in an eventful contest - a decision that was criticised by Alan Shearer as well as Gunners legend Thierry Henry, who suggested that “something was not right” between the captain and manager.

However, Arteta insists there is no such issue and that a player of Aubameyang’s influence and standing was not humiliated at being hauled off at such a crucial time in a big game.

“I can guarantee you that there is not a rift. You have to respect their opinion but what I can tell you is I have the relationship I want with him,” the Spaniard said.

“When I make decisions with 15, 20, 30 minutes left, or in the lineup at the start, it is done with one intention and that is to get the best out of the team.

“That [humiliated] is the last word I would use with my players because if that’s humiliation, imagine what it’s like for the ones left out of the team.”

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