Arteta unsure when Aubameyang will be back after 'really sad' FA Cup exit

By Sports Desk January 23, 2021

Mikel Arteta was unsure when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang would return as he reflected on a "really sad" FA Cup elimination for Arsenal.

The Gunners went down to a 1-0 defeat at Southampton on Saturday, their hopes of retaining the trophy ended in the fourth round.

Arsenal played without captain Aubameyang, who had to leave the team in the hours before kick-off for personal reasons.

Amid reports attacking midfielder Martin Odegaard is set to join from Real Madrid, Arteta expressed regret at his side's exit. 

"Really sad to be out of the competition," he said to BT Sport. "Disappointed to be out and the way we conceded.

"We are looking in the market and will see what we can do."

The teams meet again at St Mary's on Tuesday for a Premier League clash and Arteta is unsure whether Aubameyang will be back.

"I don't know, he needs to address that issue and see how it evolves," the Arsenal boss said at his post-match news conference.

"We are here, we will have to support him. He needs to take the time that is needed because that is a priority at the moment."

Gabriel Magalhaes' first-half own goal settled a scrappy contest where Arteta felt Arsenal had improved after the break.

Arteta added: "We had issues in the first half and unforced errors as a result of the high-press they do. 

"In the second half we had two or three big chances but not enough. It was an even game.

"In the first half they won a lot of second balls. In the second half we added more quality. We became more dominant and created chances but it wasn't enough."

Arsenal have conceded four own goals in all competitions this season.

Opta statistics show this is more than any other Premier League side and the most they have conceded in a single season since 2015-16 (five).

Asked if Gabriel had been rusty, Arteta said: "Maybe. He hasn't played enough minutes in the last month or so since he had the Covid. 

"He had to stay at home, he hasn't trained as much as we would like him to. He is a player that has done so well since he has joined us. Credit to Southampton because they make it really hard for you."

Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl was impressed with the way his team played, though suggested it had not been a perfect display.

"It was a good team performance," he said. "In general our work without the ball was good.

"We had in the first half more punch and more power. In the second half it's normal they have a lift. We must make the second goal. 

"We made one or two chances - Shane Long should have got a penalty. We had early ball wins, but our last decision-making was not always the best." 

Arsenal have now failed to make the fifth round of the FA Cup in three of the last four seasons.

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  • Aubameyang has little chance of Arsenal future because 'they never knew how to forgive' – Adebayor Aubameyang has little chance of Arsenal future because 'they never knew how to forgive' – Adebayor

    Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has probably played his last game at Arsenal because the club never learnt "how to forgive", according to former Gunners striker Emmanuel Adebayor. 

    Aubameyang was stripped of the Arsenal captaincy in December for a disciplinary breach, which reportedly related to him returning late from a trip abroad. 

    It was by no means Aubameyang's first indiscretion, having also last year been reminded of his responsibilities after it was claimed he broke COVID-19 guidelines to get a tattoo. 

    The punishment did not stop at having the armband taken off him, though, with Mikel Arteta excluding Aubameyang from the squad for the rest of the month. 

    His exclusion led to Gabon asking for him to be released early for Africa Cup of Nations duty and Arsenal granted that request, only for him to return to his club without playing a single competitive game in Cameroon as he required medical follow-ups after contracting COVID-19. 

    Adebayor knows what it is like to have a fractious relationship with Arsenal and the club's fans, having hit out at both following his 2009 move to Manchester City. Two months later he scored against his former club and ran the length of the pitch to goad Gunners supporters, a celebration that has gone down in Premier League folklore. 

    Such have been his experiences with Arsenal, he seemingly sees no way back for Aubameyang. 

    He told reporters: "I know he's definitely going to go through a lot because that's Arsenal for you. You can't do whatever you do. 

    "They never learn or they never knew how to forgive. So, I know he will go through a lot. 

    "But he's a strong player, he's a good player, he's a fantastic player. I wish him all the best. 

    "I sent him a message already because we just want him to bounce back. 

    "He's our African brother and we want him to keep representing Africa the way he was doing it before the problem. 

    "This is what I know because it happened to me also. Not in the same way, but a way back? At Arsenal, I would be surprised. 

    "But as I'm telling you, he's a great player so let's see how he ends up." 

    Aubameyang has apparently rejected a move to Saudi Arabia, with the 32-year-old said to be eager to stay in Europe. 

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