Paul Merson reckons that Mikel Arteta should have kept Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on the bench in Arsenal’s game against Brighton.
The club captain has missed their last few games, but they haven’t exactly missed him because this has been a poor campaign for him individually.
He has been their main goalscorer in the last few seasons, however, since he signed his current deal with them, things have been different.
The goals have been hard to come by and in his absence, Arsenal beat Chelsea 3-1 in their last Premier League game.
But he returned from his injury and Arteta decided to start him in their game against Brighton.
The Gunners struggled for the cutting edge in the game and he didn’t score yet again.
Speaking on Sky Sports, Merson says that Arteta should have left him on the bench to send a message that players who perform will always play.
“That would have been a massive statement tonight,” said Merson as quoted by HITC.
“If I am the manager, and it doesn’t seem to be all going well there at Arsenal with results recently. What a statement, pick that team [that started v Chelsea], Aubameyang wasn’t ready, they win the game and you [Auba] are sub.
“All the players then start going ‘woah, I like this’. This is the problem. You start losing the players. Lacazette is thinking ‘wait there a minute, Aubameyang is getting another chance’. I know he is a good player but everyone has a dip in form.
“And it [would have been] a statement [to put Aubameyang on the bench] – but, at the moment, if I am a player and I am in the dressing room everyone will be going ‘Oh, this is a joke’. And that’s the way it goes. It doesn’t matter how good you are. It’s all on form. I just thought it’s a bad decision this.”