“That is a massive thing what he’s done,” Merson praises Arteta for Aubameyang decision

Paul Merson has sided with Mikel Arteta after the Spanish manager decided against fielding Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in Arsenal’s game against Tottenham.

The attacker was left out of the team for disciplinary reasons after he reportedly turned up late for a team meeting prior to the game.

It was a tough decision to make considering that the Gabon striker is one of the key men at the club and he is also the captain.

Arteta put the team before him and showed the other members of the squad that no one is above the group.

Merson says the Spaniard did what brilliant managers would do and he has sent the right message to the other players at the club.

The likes of Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe are the future of Arsenal and they will have paid attention to how Arteta would react to the situation and he did the right thing.

They now know what’s acceptable and what’s not.

“Probably the biggest masterstroke of being a manager, and he is a new manager in the game, that is a massive thing what he’s done,” Merson told Sky Sports.

“What you’ve got to look at when you discipline the biggest star at the club, he thought with the future of the club.

“Fair play to Arteta, he’s got to have a look round at people like Smith-Rowe and Saka, who are going to be the future, and he’s got to send a message to them kids that whatever he’s [Aubameyang] done wasn’t right.

“If he didn’t do what he did, then those kids get crossed messages, and then they know that they can’t do that. That’s brilliant management.”

Tags mikel arteta Paul Merson Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang


  1. The question shouldn’t be do you side with Arteta for punishing a player for actions he felt were detrimental to the team, of which the answer would be an uncategorical yes, but do you agree with the way in which he went about it…to me, this was either an amateur hour managerial move or a deliberate attempt to undermine fan support for our only truly world-class player…I must admit I’m a little concerned how this will manifest itself going forward, but I hope that I’m wrong with this assessment…unfortunately the last time I saw this dynamic at work was when Wenger did likewise to Sanchez and many scoffed at me for my perceived cynicism and we all know how that panned out

    1. TRVL
      Please clear up for me why Arteta would want to destabilise the club by disciplining the club captain and at the same time fire up the fan base against him? I can’t think of one reason.

      Arteta wanted him to sign his new contract and has retained him as club captain into this season even though many think Auba isn’t ideally suited to the role and that includes me.

      I’d have thought that the last thing Arteta wanted to do in the pre match interview against Spurs was to have to briefly explain benching his captain and top scorer over a disciplinary matter.


  2. Think about it in these terms, I can’t think of a single time in his two plus decades when Wenger ever had just such a conversation with the media prior to a game, even though there were a myriad of times when there were issues ongoing behind the scenes which had impacted his team selections

    in fact, following the “dust-up” scenario with Sanchez in 2017, which led to him being disciplined, Wenger’s quote to the press was as follows, “I’m not aware of it. Nothing happened,” that’s keeping it in-house, that’s dealing with it internally, which is the opposite of what Arteta did

    by saying that he wasn’t starting for disciplinary reasons, but not providing any details, naturally led to some wild, unnecessary speculation, which simply exacerbates the situation…this was either the actions of someone who’s incredibly naïve to the ways of the world or the calculated actions of someone who was attempted to use this situation to drive a bit of a wedge between Auba and the fanbase

    risky gig, as he might have faced some criticism should they have lost, but I still believe that regardless of the results Auba would have faced the bulk of the potential backlash…these things will invariably make there way to the public realm, but never from the mouth of the manager, if the intent is to deal with issues internally

    as to the reasoning behind this particular course of action, I would speculate that there are a variety of issues that are presently percolating in the minds of both the manager and the player

    for Arteta, I would assume that, in a perfect world, he would rather have a different captain, one who is primarily a “yes” man type and totally committed to his vision, which I doubt is the case considering how this season has panned out so far

    I likewise can understand, albeit I don’t agree, how Arteta might want to find a way to move on from Auba…of course this wouldn’t be easy, considering his present wages and how much we’ve depended on him in the two previous years, but if this is his mindset the first logical step is to expose him to public scrutiny, thereby undermining his role as captain and potentially souring public sentiment(as we’ve already seen)

    there’s no doubt that they’ve clashed from a tactical standpoint, as our overly defensive ways have severely hindered Auba’s numbers this season…as a result Auba has faced some serious grief, rightly or wrongly, considering his cost-prohibitive wages in light of the new financial stunted covid environment, the potential for no European football and the usual financial constraints of our business model

    these are some pretty serious potential stumbling blocks for Arteta to navigate his way through, so it certainly wouldn’t be totally shocking to see how Arteta might think that a parting of the ways might be in HIS best interest going forward…not to mention, he clearly made some promises to Auba regarding the immediate future, before his re-signing…there’s no doubt Arteta was reading his own headlines, which explains the unwise “luxury” Willian signing, and now that it’s clear this was a “rebuild” not a “retooling” this must have caused some unforeseen grief between those two individuals

    btw, in my earlier post when I compared this case to the one between Wenger and Sanchez, I wasn’t suggesting that Arsene said anything directly to a member of the media, as he didn’t, it was more about the fact that both had used the media, in differing ways, in an attempt to turn fan sentiment against these two players

    Take care

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