Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been stripped of the Arsenal captaincy and will miss their next match against West Ham.
The Gabon international was left out of the Gunners’ 3-0 victory over Southampton after he breached the club’s disciplinary rules.
Explaining the Arsenal captain’s absence, Mikel Arteta said: “Unfortunately, due to a disciplinary breach.
”I think we have been very consistent, there are non-negotiables we have set as a club and I think we have been very consistent.”
But after Alexandre Lacazette, Martin Odegaard and Gabriel had scored to complete a win that revives Arsenal’s top-four challenge after three defeats in the previous four matches, Arteta would not be drawn on why Aubameyang had been punished or whether the forward would retain the captaincy.
He said: “It was a disciplinary breach and that’s why he was out of the squad.
“I am not going to say anything else. I am going to focus on the performance and what the team did on the pitch.”
But now the Gunners have released a 58-word statement to confirm that Aubameyang will no longer be the club captain and that he will miss their match against West Ham on Wednesday.
A statement on the Arsenal website read: “Following his latest disciplinary breach last week, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will no longer be our club captain, and will not be considered for selection for Wednesday’s match against West Ham United.
“We expect all our players, particularly our captain, to work to the rules and standards we have all set and agreed. We are fully focused on tomorrow’s match.”
Former Gunners defender Martin Keown warned yesterday of the implications of changing the captaincy part way through a season.
Keown wrote in the Daily Mail: “Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is clinging to the Arsenal captaincy by his fingernails. A club captain cannot be repeatedly falling foul of the rules set by his manager.
“He is not only the leader on the pitch, he is supposed to lead by example off it, too, especially when the squad is as youthful as Arsenal’s.
“The bottom line is, does Mikel Arteta believe Aubameyang has the qualities required to remain his captain? He knows he’s got a group of young men in that dressing room and they need a skipper who sets the right standards.
“What Arteta needs to contemplate is how damaging it could be to change the captaincy in the middle of a season.
“Doing it mid-season seems disruptive. It risks being too much of a distraction.
“Arteta made the decision to punish his player for his misdemeanour (the full details of which the manager has chosen not to divulge).
“Dropping him from the match-day squad might be the kick up the backside he needed. This could act as a final warning for Aubameyang and then Arteta can address the issue of who should be his captain in the summer.”