The Gabon international might have a firm grip on a starting role, but his manager says that nobody’s place is totally safe
Arsenal boss has backed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to rediscover his scoring form but is adamant his captain is not “undroppable”.
Since the commencement of the 2020-21 Premier League season, the 31-year-old has not scored from open play – with his penalty strike against Manchester United on November 1 his major contribution in his 888 minutes of action.
Aubameyang has not travelled with the squad for Thursday’s Europa League dead-rubber clash versus Dundalk as the North Londoners have booked a place in the next round of the tournament.
When asked if the former Borussia Dortmund man was undroppable in the Premier League, the Spaniard told club media: “No one is undroppable. At the end of the day, we have to find the right players to win football matches.
“But we cannot forget what Auba has done for this club and what he has done in recent months, not years ago.
“As well, I see how he’s training and how he’s behaving, how much he wants to turn this situation around.
“When I see that type of hunger, it’s about supporting the player as well as the status he has in the team because of the performances he has provided for this football club.”
On whether his morale has dropped and if it is important to keep him positive, Arteta continued: “Listen, today and this week, the response that I’ve seen from the players and the reaction I saw from the players after the match [against Tottenham Hotspur], I cannot be any prouder.
“Because I know how difficult it is for everybody at the moment. After losing a derby you can be completely down and I saw a completely different team, a team that wants to fight, that has a big belief in what they are trying to do and they want to push themselves and push each other harder and harder.
“Auba was one of the main guys there and today he was walking around the place with an energy that wouldn’t be associated to a team or a player that is suffering at the moment and that is for me the way we have to approach it.”
After their game against the Irish team, Arsenal welcome struggling Burnley to the Emirates Stadium on Sunday. As it stands, the Gunners are 15th in the English log having accrued 13 points.