The new Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta is in a difficult position, having lost his top goalscorer for 3 games, including this and a crucial trip to Chelsea, and he has explained how gutted Auba is at not being able to play. “Auba has been around, he was very sad after the game.” the Boss said on Arsenal.com.
“He was disappointed that he left the team with 10 men. It’s an action that is completely accidental in my opinion. He’s been superb under me, he’s trained really well, he’s working so hard. He’s scoring goals and has probably been the most important player on the team. So to lose him, obviously, is really bad news for us.”
He was then asked if he thought that Auba’s absence would weaken the team. “I don’t know. I haven’t experienced it. I hope not, I hope we can play better and even win the games and he will be pushing for that as well. Players have to step up. You know, when one of your big players is not there, they have to take responsibility. I’m sure when they’re not playing, they want a chance and they talk. It’s time to talk on the pitch, not outside. You come on there, you make the impact that he made and you assure me that you are as good as him or even better. You have the chance.”
Obviously Lacazette is the favourite to replace Auba, but how can Arteta help him to regain his scoring boots? “You can help him by talking to him and giving him confidence, but that ball has to end up in the net. I think that’s the best medicine for strikers. What we have to try to do is put Laca in positions where he can have as many opportunities to do that as possible during a game.”
So it sounds like Arteta is sure that Lacazette will be starting, but who else may be able to pitch in with goals? What about Martinelli? “He’s having an impact every time he’s coming on, but it’s not just him. It’s others players like Reiss and Nico too, so whoever players there on Saturday has to step in and has to be thinking that they need to make the difference for the team.”
So, there is no mention of Nketiah, so perhaps Arteta doesn’t intend to play him against Sheffield. But for me, I think we have to start the game with Pepe, Martinelli and Lacazette for now.
What do you think?