Story via CaughtOffside
Arsenal legend Michael Thomas has spoken exclusively to CaughtOffside about the Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang situation, discussing the decision of manager Mikel Arteta to strip him of the captaincy, and what that could mean for the team now.
The former Gunners midfielder, who scored that famous title-winning goal against Liverpool in 1989, feels Arteta made the right decision to take the armband away from Aubameyang following recent disciplinary issues, and seems optimistic about the players in this squad who can replace the Gabon international.
Thomas is a particularly big fan of young Brazilian forward Gabriel Martinelli, saying he could become the long-term number 9 at the Emirates Stadium, whilst also praising the ‘unselfish’ work of Alexandre Lacazette up front.
“Lacazette for me is such a team player. So unselfish in everything he does, sometimes maybe too unselfish,” Thomas told CaughtOffside. “It helps the young players settle and play the game they need to as well as relieving pressure on his midfield as he is always available to receive the ball in dangerous areas.
“Martinelli is a joy to watch. His work ethic is amazing and his willingness to always do what is required is an amazing trait to have at such a young age. He is adapting to the wider roles really well under Arteta, but I do see him as a number 9 in the future.”
On Aubameyang, Thomas backed Arteta for making it clear that the team comes before any one player in the Arsenal squad.
“As a player of Arsenal football club, there are high standards that every member of the squad should be aware of committing to,” Thomas said.
“Aubameyang was the captain of the club and should embody those standards and be setting the best example for the rest of the players, especially such a young team. Arteta needs to show that not any one player is above the standards and all shall be held accountable for their actions. Good decision.
“Aubameyang is still a player that has the ability to perform at an extremely competitive level, he just needs to regain his drive and focus.
There needs to be a line drawn under it as soon as possible because the team needs all the players possible right now to make a big push for that top four position.”