The Gunners’ starting XI for the north London derby came as a surprise when the club captain was missing, with Mikel Arteta telling Sky Sports he was omitted after a disciplinary “breach”.
Arteta did not initially elaborate on the reasons behind his decision, with Alexandre Lacazette starting in place of the Gabon international, but ahead of kick-off speaking to Sky he clarified that Aubameyang was originally intended to start.
“He was going to start, we had a disciplinary issue, we have drawn the line and we move on, he’s on the bench,” the manager said.
“We keep it internally, we have a process to respect for every game and that’s it.
“It’s a decision made after evaluating everything: who he is and what he’s done. There are other players who deserve the chance [to play] so I am comfortable with that.”
The 31-year-old has returned to form of late, scoring twice against Benfica in the last 32 of the Europa League and scoring four in his previous three Premier League starts.
With just one defeat in four in the league, the Gunners have closed the gap to the likes of Liverpool and Aston Villa ahead of them in the table ahead of their meeting with local rivals Spurs, who still sit three places and seven points above Arsenal ahead of the derby.
And the home side will have to get a result without their captain’s services from the start - though Arteta call upon him from the bench.
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