Aubameyang axe left Arsenal squad 'scared' of Arteta – Elneny

Mohamed Elneny has revealed Mikel Arteta's decision to axe captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang last season left the squad "scared".

The Gunners parted ways with the Gabon international in January, offloading the forward to Barcelona after disciplinary issues at Emirates Stadium, but have since seen the striker return to the Premier League with Chelsea.

Arteta's side will come face to face with Aubameyang this weekend as they look to maintain their spot at the summit of the table against the Blues and will have no doubts about the threat he poses.

Aubameyang scored 92 goals during his four-year spell in north London, lifting the FA Cup in 2019-20, and Arteta's decision to move away from the forward at the start of the year was a controversial one.

That choice has been proven to be justified though, with Arsenal flying this season.

Asked whether that was the moment where Arteta imposed his authority upon the squad, Elneny said: "A hundred per cent. Now everyone looked at themselves because Mikel did that to the captain of the team, so what is he going to do with another player?

"This showed that now we can't play around, now we have to be calm with the team. The way the team is going, we have to stick together, not do something different.

Aubameyang goals
Aubameyang goals

"We agree with what Mikel decided because he is our boss, and we just have to agree what his vision is for us. I think it unified us because now everyone was scared. Everyone is scared with their position because this happened to Aubameyang.

"We don't allow big egos. This is the dressing room we have now. Everyone loves each other and everyone works for each other. This is what actually makes our squad really strong, because we don't have egos in the team.

"Of course if anyone is not the captain of the team, and does a small mistake, they are going to have the same problem, and no one needs that problem."

Aubameyang's reunion with Arsenal will grab the attention in Sunday's London derby, and the forward stands as one of many high-earning players offloaded during the Arteta and Edu era at Emirates Stadium.

The Gunners have also moved on Mesut Ozil and club-record signing Nicolas Pepe, among others, and Elneny feels Aubameyang is no different despite previously captaining the side.

"Aubameyang was one of our players and now he decided to go to a different team. We must focus on ourselves and look to win the game," Elneny said.

"We know what we are going there to do, because now we are looking for the title. Of course, we are going to push, and we are going to give everything to win the game."