London (AFP) – Mikel Arteta insists Arsenal are no longer so vulnerable when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is sidelined.
Gunners captain Aubameyang missed their last two matches, both against Southampton, and revealed on social media that his absence was due to his mother suffering from “health issues”.
The Gabon forward is not expected to return for Arsenal’s Premier League clash with Manchester United on Saturday.
But with Arteta’s side unbeaten in their last six league games, Aubameyang’s absence is no longer as fatal as it might have been in the past.
Arteta feels more of his players have stepped up to make sure the skipper’s time away does not derail them.
“That is something that we had to improve and address dramatically,” he said when asked if he was no longer reliant on Aubameyang.
“If you want to have any chance of competing with the top teams in this league, just to rely on one player is completely insufficient and it won’t be sustainable over time.
“But having said that, we know the importance of Auba and his goals and his contribution to the team. The more we have him, the stronger we are for sure as well.”
Aubameyang had travelled with the squad for the FA Cup defeat at Southampton on Saturday before leaving just hours before kick-off.
“Hey guys, Thank you so much for all the messages and calls over the last few days,” he wrote on Instagram.
“My mother is going through some health issues and I had to be there for her. She’s already much better now and I will be back home tonight.
“I’m more than grateful to the doctors and nurses helping her get through this.
“And of course, thanks to my Arsenal fam for the love yesterday! I’m more determined than ever to keep our momentum going!
“Thank you all again – I really am beyond blessed to receive this level of support and love from all of you and I can’t wait to be back.”
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