The Gunners boss turned to Folarin Balogun to start the season opener against Brentford
Mikel Arteta has said that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette were left out of Arsenal’s season opener against Brentford because the two “feel unwell”.
Both Aubemeyang and Lacazette featured for Arsenal in pre-season, but the club’s two star attackers did not make the matchday squad for Friday’s Premier League opener.
Folarin Balogun has been handed his Premier League debut in their stead as the England Under-20 striker joined Arsenal’s attack alongside the likes of Nicolas Pepe, Emile Smith Rowe and Gabriel Martinelli.
What did Arteta say?
“[Aubameyang and Lacazette] feel unwell, that’s all I can say. Instead of thinking of excuses, we think of solutions so that’s what we will do today,” Arteta told Sky Sports before the game.
“It is a really young [Arsenal] team, full of excitement and energy and that’s what I want to see on the pitch.
“The chances come for different reasons in your career. [Folarin Balogun] has one today so he better enjoy it.
“[Brentford] are very dangerous. They are very exciting and [promotion] was deserved. They had a long journey to the Premier League. They fully deserve the position they are in.
“We want to keep going, keep improving and we know this league is a long marathon. Today is day one so let’s enjoy it.”
Arsenal’s first lineup
Arsenal’s big summer signing Ben White was named to the club’s first starting XI of the year, having made the move to London from Brighton this summer.
He was joined by Pablo Mari in central defence with Calum Chambers and Kieran Tierney out wide.
The midfield consists of summer signing Albert Sambi Lokonga alongside Grant Xhaka, while Bernd Leno starts in goal.