Aubameyang missed Arsenal’s 2-1 defeat at Everton on Saturday with a calf problem. Instead, Mikel Arteta decided to choose Eddie Nketiah to play in the striking role, following on from his assist in the match against Southampton from the same position.
The young forward could be set to continue for longer than expected with Arteta confirming that Aubameyang will not be available for Arsenal’s quarter-final match against Manchester City.
“Aubameyang is not fit for tomorrow, that’s for sure. We will see who’s available because we have a few doubts in other positions,” said Arteta.
Arsenal have seriously struggled for goals this season and will be irritated not to have their captain available for the match. The Gabonese striker scored twice against City in their FA Cup semi-final match last season.
With Nketiah having started the last two Premier League games in the space of a week, it could transpire that Alexandre Lacazette would come into the line-up for the match against Pep Guardiola’s side.
Young striker Folarin Balogun has been an option from the bench in Europe this season, scoring twice in just over an hour of football. Arteta could choose to field the youngster and give him more minutes but it is more likely the French senior figure will play.
Whilst the injury to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is unideal, the return of young Brazilian starlet Gabriel Martinelli will certainly improve Mikel Arteta’s squad.
The 19-year-old made his debut in the senior side last season, typically in the Europa League competition. However, his performances were so good that he began to earn more minutes in the Premier League.
Much was expected of the Brazilian towards the end of last season’s finish. However, an injury to his knee kept him out for the rest of the season and the beginning of the current campaign. Now back in the side, Arteta is keen not to put too much pressure on a young player such as Martinelli being the saviour of Arsenal season.
“We cannot put that pressure on Gabi’s shoulders,” he said. “He brings that enthusiasm that the fans can see but remember what Gabi has done in the PL is very limited. Let him develop like we do with many young kids we have here.”
Martinelli could feature in the cup match against Manchester City but Arteta may choose to rest him. This would allow him to be more ready for the match in the league against Chelsea where Arsenal are in desperate need of picking up points.
This article was edited by Josh Barker.
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