Mikel Arteta has explained that he was forced to omit captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and striker Alexandre Lacazette from his opening day Premier League squad because of illness.
As the Gunners’ skipper, Aubameyang in particular was a guaranteed starter for the game, whilst Lacazette’s pre-season form suggests that he would’ve been involved from the off had he not felt unwell.
Speaking to Sky Sports in the build-up to the clash with Brentford, Arteta said: “They feel unwell, that’s all I can say. It is [a big miss] but in a world we live in I think the only permanent thing now are changes instead of seeking for excuses, we’re seeking for solutions.”
Those ‘solutions’ have presented themselves in the shape of young duo Gabriel Martinelli and Folarin Balogun.
The young duo, both aged 20, will both be looking to hit the ground running this season.
Hale End graduate Balogun extended his stay at the Emirates in April after being promised more regular game time, whilst Martinelli returned with an Olympic Gold medal in the week.
And former Manchester United turned Sky Sports pundit, Gary Neville, actually thinks that Aubameyang and Lacazette’s absence could be a good thing for Martinelli moving forward.
“I think the most excited I was last year when I watched Arsenal was when three Brazilians and Martinelli came in,” said Neville, speaking on Sky before the game.
“We know that Aubameyang and Lacazette are world-class players but their work without the ball isn’t as good as it should be.
I’m optimistic about Arsenal, I feel more excited the fact that they’re not playing because I’ve seen them before as good as they are.”
Source by Football London