Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has made his first comments after missing out for Arsenal against Sheffield United.
It has been a mixed month for the Gunners captain.
He was a surprise omission from the starting XI against Tottenham Hotspur on March 14, with manager Mikel Arteta admitting that the 31-year-old was in line to start prior to a disciplinary issue that was swiftly resolved.
Aubameyang was restored to the lineup for the Europa League last-16 second leg tie at home to Olympiacos a few days later and kept his place for games against West Ham United and Liverpool either side of the international break.
However, he was substituted in the last two games and was dropped for Thursday night’s 1-1 draw against Slavia Prague.
With that said, he did make an impact off the bench as he teed up Nicolas Pepe to finally break the deadlock at the Emirates Stadium, only to see the side concede late on.
And ahead of Arsenal‘s return to Premier League action, it was confirmed that Aubameyang had not travelled to Bramall Lane because of illness.
“David [Luiz] is injured,” Arteta told BT Sport. “Kieran [Tierney] is injured, Auba is unwell, Martin [Odegaard] is injured and Emile [Smith Rowe] is injured, so they are all out.
“We were going to make some changes anyway but we’ve lost some very important players in the last few weeks.”
It remains to be seen if Aubameyang recovers in time for next week’s Europa League quarter-final second leg against Slavia Prague, but he remains hopeful.
“Gutted I can’t be out there with the team tonight, but hopefully back healthy on Thursday!” he wrote on Instagram.
“Let’s go boys!! @arsenal”
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In Aubameyang’s absence, Arteta kept faith in Lacazette in the centre-forward role.
And the Spaniard was rewarded with the Frenchman breaking the deadlock just after the half-hour mark with a simple finish to round off a free-flowing passing move and then another goal in the second half.
That is now 15 goals across all competitions for Lacazette which puts him above Aubameyang as Arsenal’s leading scorer this season.