Is Kylian Mbappe's future nearing a resolution?

Mbappe is out of contract at the end of the season and the Paris Saint-Germain forward is no closer to extending his contract in the
French capital.

Real Madrid are reportedly poised to pounce.

 

TOP STORY – MADRID NEARING MBAPPE DEAL?

Real Madrid are closing in on Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe, according to the front page of Monday's Marca.

Mbappe is in the final year of his PSG contract and he has reportedly made it clear he has no intention of re-signing in Paris.

Long touted to join Madrid, the LaLiga giants' pursuit of Mbappe is set to enter a decisive phase this week.

The Transfer Window podcast, however, claims Liverpool will attempt to sign Mbappe on a free transfer at the end of the 2021-22 season.

 

ROUND-UP

- Sport reports Barcelona are monitoring Arsenal pair Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as they look to rebuild following Lionel Messi's departure to PSG.

- Inter are eyeing Napoli captain Lorenzo Insigne but want a discount on the Italy star, claims Sky Sport Italia. Napoli value Insigne at around €25-30million with one year remaining on his contract. Lazio's Joaquin Correa, Atalanta forward Duvan Zapata and Fiorentina sensation Dusan Vlahovic have also been linked to Inter.

- Sport Italia says Tottenham are in talks with Fiorentina for centre-back Nikola Milenkovic, who has been linked with West Ham. Spurs are also keen on Fiorentina star Vlahovic, according to Sport Italia.

- According to Cadena SER, Antoine Griezmann is open to returning to Atletico Madrid this off-season. Griezmann swapped Atletico for Barca in 2019.

Luka Jovic has decided he wants to join Inter on loan, per Nerazzurri Siamo Noi. The Madrid outcast has also been linked with Eintracht Frankfurt, Sampdoria and Genoa.

Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City are tracking Metz's 18-year-old midfielder Pape Matar Sarr, claims the Daily Mail.

Mikel Arteta is unsure whether Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will rediscover his best form in 2021-22.

Aubameyang signed a huge £250,000 per week contract at Emirates Stadium in September 2020 but then failed to live up to his billing as the Gunners slumped to eighth in the Premier League last term.

The former Borussia Dortmund forward endured by far the worst season of his Premier League career, contributing 10 goals along with three assists.

His 13 goal involvements were his fewest in a single campaign in England, including 2017-18 when he joined in the January and tallied 10 goals and four assists.

Aubameyang has turned 32 since the end of 2020-21 and it was put to manager Arteta on Thursday that this could be the start of an extended slump.

Arteta could not rule out that possibility but is waiting to see how the Gabon international performs as fans return this year to hopefully spell a more normal season.

"I don't know – last season and everything that happened individually, collectively around the club for everybody, it was difficult to measure if that's a trend or a one-off," Arteta said ahead of Arsenal's opening game against newly promoted Brentford on Friday.

"Our job is to help the players get the best that they have, and we know that with [Aubameyang] we are stronger.

"He scores goals and that's one of the most important things in this game."

Aubameyang declined in several areas of his game last season, although it was his profligacy in front of goal that caused most concern.

The striker's conversion rate fell to 17.5 per cent, ranking 13th among the 27 players to score 10 or more – a list he had topped when netting with 32.3 per cent of shots in his first half-season at Arsenal.

Aubameyang was still ahead of Harry Kane, the division's top scorer, in this regard, but his average of 2.2 attempts per 90 minutes represented another worrying low despite taking more touches in the opposition box (4.8 per 90) than a year earlier (4.4 touches, 2.7 shots, 22 goals).

As a result, his number of 'big chances' – situations where the player would reasonably be expected to score – dropped from 0.8 to 0.5 per 90.

And Aubameyang was actually slightly fortunate to reach double figures.

Although he marginally underperformed his expected goals total of 10.2, his expected goals on target value – which measures the quality of the shot rather than the quality of the chance – of 7.8 spoke to his below-par finishing.

At the other end of the pitch to Aubameyang, it appears Arsenal are still attempting to add to their options, with the Gunners having reportedly lodged a £24million bid for Sheffield United goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale.

Those reports emerged on Wednesday but were swiftly shot down by Blades boss Slavisa Jokanovic, who insisted Ramsdale is not for sale.

"I don't have any intention to sell him," said Jokanovic on Thursday. "He will be in my starting 11 for the next game.

"He is a very good keeper and I am really happy working with him. He's a really expensive keeper too."

Ramsdale moved to the Blades from Bournemouth in 2020.

Mikel Arteta believes Arsenal's dominant 2-0 win over Newcastle United was the perfect preparation for Thursday's Europa League semi-final second leg against Villarreal.

The Gunners suffered a 2-1 defeat in the first leg in Spain on Thursday, but they returned to winning ways against Steve Bruce's side at St James' Park.

Mohamed Elneny's first Premier League goal in his 66th appearance in the competition got them on their way after just five minutes, before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang sealed a sixth consecutive win against the Magpies without conceding a goal.

Aubameyang's second-half goal meant he became the first Arsenal player to score in five consecutive matches against an opponent since Olivier Giroud netted in six straight games against Aston Villa between 2013 and 2016.

The only blot on the Gunners' copybook was a hamstring injury to David Luiz, which could keep the Brazilian out for the remainder of the season.

Arteta made nine changes to the side that lost in Spain and was pleased with his side's dominance, the Gunners taking 19 shots and restricting the hosts to just a single shot on target.

"Apart from David's injury, that was all we wanted," Arteta told a media conference.

"We wanted to keep the team fresh and pick players with the right attitude to play this game. The focus was on today. It was a strong performance from the beginning.

"We dominated the game and won the three points, which we needed. It helps for Thursday as well."

Aubameyang has now scored in all three of his appearances against Newcastle this season, becoming the first Arsenal player to score in three separate matches against an opponent in a single season since Alexis Sanchez against Hull City in 2014-15.

The Gabon international, who was recently struck down with malaria, came off the bench for the final five minutes against Villarreal in Spain and proved his fitness with an impressive display on Sunday.

"We thought he wasn't going to manage it on Thursday. Two days before, he was struggling," Arteta explained. "He could only manage to play 10 or 15 minutes.

"The day after, he started to feel better. It's good to see he was fine today. He scored a goal, he played well, so it's a real boost."

Gabriel Martinelli enjoyed an eventful game, laying on Aubameyang's goal with a fine cross and drawing a foul from Fabian Schar in the 90th minute which resulted in a red card for the Newcastle defender.

"Gabi's improving every week," Arteta said. "He's taking his minutes in the right way.

"He's developing in the way we all believe he can. Today he had an assist, some good moments on the left and we're trying to play him as a number nine as well."

Arsenal returned to winning ways as goals from Mohamed Elneny and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang sealed a comfortable 2-0 win over Newcastle United on Sunday. 

The Gunners had picked up just one point from their previous two Premier League games against Everton and Fulham before they suffered a 2-1 defeat to Villarreal in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final on Thursday. 

However, they sealed all three points at St James' Park thanks to Elneny's early goal and Aubameyang's second-half finish, the fifth consecutive game in which the Gabon international has scored against the Magpies. 

The result lifted Arsenal up to ninth, while Newcastle finished with 10 men after substitute Fabian Schar's rash lunge on fellow Gabriel Martinelli.

Steve Bruce's side remain 17th, nine points clear of the relegation zone with four games remaining.

Arsenal wasted little time stamping their authority on the game, opening the scoring after just five minutes through Elneny's first Premier League goal in his 66th appearance in the competition.

Aubameyang horribly miss-kicked Hector Bellerin's right-wing cross but the ball fell fortuitously to Elneny, who struck a half-volley past Martin Dubravka from 18 yards.

Mat Ryan – one of nine changes from the defeat to Villarreal – tipped over Allan Saint-Maximin's deflected effort soon after, while Dubravka pawed away Granit Xhaka's long-range drive at the other end.

Miguel Almiron denied Elneny a second shortly before the half-hour, clearing the Egyptian's header from a corner off the line.

Arsenal doubled their advantage in the 66th minute when Aubameyang showed superb athleticism to volley home Martinelli's left-wing cross inside the six-yard box. 

Any faint hopes the hosts had of setting up a grandstand finale were dashed in the 90th minute when Schar saw red, as Bruce's men fell to just a second defeat in their past nine Premier League games.
 

Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta has fiercely defended his team selection after his side's 2-1 Europa League semi-final first leg defeat away to Villarreal on Thursday.

Arteta fielded Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka at left-back while he also started without a recognised striker, with Emile Smith Rowe in the most advanced role and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang coming off the bench.

The Gunners went behind 2-0 after half an hour and were reduced to 10 men after Dani Ceballos' 57th minute sending off.

But Arsenal pulled a goal back from Nicolas Pepe's 73rd minute spotkick after Bukayo Saka was tripped inside the box claiming a precious away goal.

"It's the way we prepared for the game," the Spaniard said at the post-game press conference about his selection decisions.

"It's the decision that I made, thinking that it was the best way to play, but the game was conditioned after four minutes so it was difficult to assess whether it would work or not.

"Conceding from the set piece as well also changed it and after, we had to approach it in a different way."

He added: "Obviously when you lose you always get [selection] wrong.

"When we won 4-0 away from home against Slavia Prague, they didn’t lose a home game in three years and Granit played so well, he was incredible playing there but I know that when it doesn’t happen, it’s always going to point there."

Arsenal will host Villarreal in London next Thursday with a spot in the decider on the line, against either Manchester United or Roma, with Arteta delighted with their away goal after their early deficit.

"It changes completely the tie obviously, and it makes a huge difference and we know that we have to be better than we were for 95 minutes," Arteta said.

"If we don’t do that then we won’t have the chance to be in the final."

He added: "After the story of the game, I think we have to take it because in the tie we are alive and in the circumstances that developed during the game, it put the game and the tie in real danger at some stages."

Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is "feeling good" after returning home from two days in hospital with malaria, manager Mikel Arteta has confirmed.

The Gabon striker has been left out of the squad for Arsenal's last two matches and revealed on social media on Thursday that he contracted the virus during the recent international break. 

Aubameyang posted a picture of himself in a hospital bed and wearing a gown, but he has now been discharged and his health is improving.

Speaking at a news conference after Arsenal's 4-0 win over Slavia Prague on Thursday evening, which saw his side through to the Europa League semi-finals 5-1 on aggregate, Arteta said: "We just spoke with him. He's at home, he's fine.

"He had two days in hospital to get the right treatment, but he's feeling good now.

"Everybody has been in contact with him. He's been really supportive with every team-mate through messages and calls.

"He was watching the game like everybody else at Colney. David [Luiz], Martin [Odegaard], Kieran [Tierney]. Everybody who has not been able to be involved.

"It is what it is, these things happen. He travelled to his country and he picked it up and you know that these risks always exist."

Aubameyang has sat out Arsenal's wins over Sheffield United and Slavia, but he started the 3-0 loss to Liverpool on April 3 and was a second-half substitute in last week's first-leg against the Czech champions.

"When he wasn't involved against Sheffield United, two days before he wasn't feeling good, but nobody could expect that was the case," Arteta added.

"They did some more tests and that's when it came up and straight away the doctor realised very quickly what had to be done and they did a great job. He's safe and he's feeling good."

Aubameyang has not scored for Arsenal since the 1-1 draw with Burnley on March 6 in the Premier League - one of 14 goals he has managed in all competitions this season.

Arsenal host Fulham and Everton in their next two Premier League games, before the first leg of their Europa League semi-final with Villarreal on April 29.

Arteta is unsure when Aubameyang will be fit enough to return but is hopeful of having his captain back involved sooner rather than later.

"We'll see how he recovers," Arteta said. "I think he will need a few days to recover from that. He wants to back as soon as possible, that's what he said to me.

"But I don't know. If the treatment is efficient it shouldn't take too long."

Arsenal have won eight, drawn five and lost nine of the 22 Premier League games Aubameyang has started this term, compared to five wins, one draw and three losses in the nine games he has not started.

The Gunners also average more goals per game without Aubameyang in their line-up - 1.8 compared to 1.2 - while their average goals against figure rises from 1.0 to 1.2 when he is not included in the XI.

Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been in hospital this week after being diagnosed with malaria, he has announced.

The Gabon striker said he picked up the virus during the recent international break.

Aubameyang was absent as Arsenal travelled to face Slavia Prague in the Europa League on Thursday.

Manager Mikel Arteta said ahead of the game that Aubameyang was being monitored due to illness, and the player himself has now revealed he has been seriously unwell.

Aubameyang wrote on Instagram: "Hey guys, thanks for all the messages and calls. Unfortunately I contracted Malaria whilst being on national team duty in Gabon a few weeks ago.

"I've spent a few days in hospital this week but I'm already feeling much better every day, thanks to the great doctors that detected and treated the virus so quickly.

"I wasn't really feeling myself the last couple weeks but will be back stronger than ever soon! Will be watching my boys now, huge game for us! Let‘s go and get it @arsenal."

The 31-year-old posted a picture of himself, seemingly in a hospital bed and wearing a gown.

Aubameyang was used as a substitute in last Thursday's first leg of the quarter-final tie with Slavia, but he missed the 3-0 win at Sheffield United on Sunday.

He has not scored for Arsenal since the 1-1 draw with Burnley on March 6 in the Premier League.

Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe will be available for Arsenal for their Europa League quarter-final second leg against Slavia Prague.

Saka has been struggling with a thigh problem and was taken off in the second half of the Gunners' 3-0 Premier League win at Sheffield United on Sunday.

Smith Rowe missed that match at Bramall Lane after spraining his ankle in the 1-1 first-leg draw with Slavia, but he and Saka have recovered fully for the return fixture at Sinobo Stadium.

Captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who also missed the win over the Blades due to illness, will be assessed ahead of the Slavia clash.

Martin Odegaard is also battling to be fit after injuring his ankle during the international break, but the match will come too soon for Kieran Tierney and David Luiz.

Mikel Arteta's side are bidding to reach the Europa League semi-finals for the third time in four seasons, although they have failed to progress from their previous three European knockout ties after drawing the first leg.

Mikel Arteta stood by his decision to drop Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for Arsenal's Europa League tie with Slavia Prague and backed his side to progress, despite a disappointing 1-1 draw in Thursday's quarter-final first leg.

Club captain Aubameyang was named among the substitutes on the back of Saturday's 3-0 loss to Liverpool and was not introduced until the 78th minute against Slavia with the game still goalless. 

The Gabon international made an impact by playing in Nicolas Pepe for Arsenal's opener eight minutes later - his 100th goal involvement for Arsenal in all competitions since joining from Borussia Dortmund in January 2018.

Arsenal failed to see out the victory on home soil, however, with Tomas Holes heading in a 93rd-minute equaliser that leaves the Gunners requiring at least one goal in next week's return leg in the Czech capital.

But despite Alexandre Lacazette missing a glorious chance when played clean through on goal and Bukayo Saka also failing to convert from a good position, Arteta felt he picked the right starting line-up against Slavia.

"I think the players I selected stepped in and gave absolutely everything," he said at his post-match news conference. "We managed the game really well. We were much more aggressive today and we created some big chances.

"When I made the substitutions I felt it was the right time to do so. Whether I should have done it earlier or not, who knows?"

Arteta confirmed ahead of the game that Aubameyang was left out for tactical reasons and he was pleased with the response shown by the striker, who has 14 goals in 33 appearances this season.

"When he came on he showed the right attitude," the Spaniard said. "I cannot talk with everybody individually every week, but we try to be as transparent as possible."

Holes' late leveller was his first goal in major European competition in his 14th such appearance and leaves Arsenal with work to do in what is a make-or-break clash in Prague next week.

Arsenal are now winless in four matches and have failed to keep a clean sheet in any of their last 14 games in all competitions, but Arteta has full confidence his side will reach the semi-finals for a third time in four seasons.

"I totally believe that we can go there and win the match," he told BT Sport. "We need to win the game. The mindset is to win the game. We need to score. We've done it before and we need to do it again."

Thursday's draw was the first time Arsenal have failed to beat a Czech side at home, but visiting boss Jindrich Trpisovsky accepted that Slavia had to ride their luck, even if they managed four attempts on target to their opponents' two.

"We weren't ourselves tonight. We gave them the ball very often without fight," Trpisovsky said. "We need to see how Arsenal will adapt to our pitch. Theirs is superb and ours is not so. Tonight, we were lucky. They had chances they didn't score.

"We made mistakes and kept losing the ball when we were in possession but then we were lucky with the corner and snatched the draw."

Mikel Arteta wants to help Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang rediscover his best form as Arsenal plan to treat every game as a final for the remainder of the season.

With the international break over, the Gunners resume their campaign on Saturday when Liverpool visit Emirates Stadium.

Both teams are desperately in need of points with just nine games remaining in the Premier League, or else run the risk of missing out on qualifying for Europe via the domestic route.

While Liverpool still have their sights set on a top-four finish, Arsenal go into the fixture well off the pace having won just three of their previous nine in the competition.

Like the team itself, Aubameyang has struggled for consistency in the competition. The Gabon international scored 22 league goals in each of the previous two seasons but has yet to reach double figures in 2020-21.

"We talked for months about the ratio of goals we need him to score to give us the best possible chance of being at the top," Arteta told the media ahead of the Liverpool game.

"He's not been what he has been in recent years, a factor that is contributed by a lot of other things that the team has to do on the pitch – it's not just his thing.

"Obviously, we need Auba in different form in the next games to give us the best chance to finish where we want to finish this season, that is clear."

Aubameyang could point to playing regularly in a wider attacking role as a reason behind the decrease in his productivity, with a nine-goal haul still one behind the total he managed in his first 13 league appearances after signing from Borussia Dortmund in January 2018.

His position in the team may also explain why his average of 2.28 shots per 90 minutes is comfortably lower than in previous seasons at the club, along with a shot conversion rate of 18.37 per cent (which is still better than Harry Kane's number of 16.67 per cent).

Yet when it comes to converting big chances – those Opta define as a situation where a player is expected to score – the 31-year-old sits at a healthy 45.4 per cent, well above his 2018-19 total of 36.1 per cent when he finished tied with Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah for the Golden Boot. He is slightly outperforming his expected goals tally of 6.8 this term too, managing seven non-penalty goals from 47 shots.

Arteta recognises it is not necessarily all down to the player himself, with the Gunners manager asking for different requirements from his captain while instilling a more controlled approach to proceedings, laying the foundations for what he hopes will be long-term success under his guidance.

"He can play off the left, off the right, in the middle. He has done it, it's nothing new," Arteta replied when asked about Aubameyang's best position.

"When you look at his stats from the past, there is no difference. But it does depend [on] how we play, how much we provide for him and how efficient he is when he has these chances.

"When he has got this form of confidence, well, he is unstoppable. It is dependent on many factors."

The north London club rewarded Aubameyang for his previous exploits – including two goals to beat Chelsea in the FA Cup final last August – with a bumper new contract.

With the goals drying up since signing to stay for a further three years, questions have been raised over his commitment to the cause. He was also dropped from the starting XI prior to the derby with Tottenham in March for disciplinary reasons, though Arteta quickly drew a line under the issue in the aftermath of a much-needed 2-1 victory.

Arteta has no doubt Aubameyang remains ambitious, stating: "It's easy to connect things when they relate to it like that, but I'm not suspicious about that.

"We have had many conversations about what he wanted to do from last year's point of view with his future in the next three years. He was very ambitious with that, but to maintain that level is really complicated. He is trying hard and that's what he is aiming to do."

Arsenal could do with their captain leading from the front during the run-in, starting against Liverpool in what is the highest-scoring fixture in Premier League history.

"It's like a final every game," Arteta said ahead of the final stretch. "Three points mean a lot in the table and we need to go for them, we need to win as many games as possible. We know that."

Martin Odegaard has everything to become the "complete player" according to Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta, who thinks the Norway international can add more goals to his game. 

Odegaard has impressed since joining the Gunners on loan from Real Madrid in January and followed his first goal for the club against Olympiacos last week with the equaliser in Sunday's 2-1 north London derby win over Tottenham. 

Ahead of the return clash with Olympiacos, where Arsenal hold a 3-1 advantage, Arteta warmly praised the 22-year-old playmaker. 

"He's getting better and better. I think his understanding of what we want is excellent," he told the media. 

"His work rate has been phenomenal. And then he's doing something which, in my opinion, he could improve a lot, which is getting in the opponents' box and being more decisive in the score line. 

"He's doing that. He's scored two goals, he's got some really important entrances in the zone and he looks really dangerous all the time. 

"It's something that if he adds that to his game, he becomes a real complete player." 

Odegaard's two goals in all competitions are more than any other Arsenal midfielder has managed since his debut, with only Bukayo Saka (19) having more than his 11 shots. 

He is also the best among his midfield colleagues over the same period in terms of chances created (13), while behind only Mohamed Elneny in terms of passing accuracy (92.9 versus 90.8 per cent), having played 468 more minutes than the Egypt international. 

"I think everybody has been really impressed with how quickly he adapted. How professional he is," Arteta said. 

"How quickly he adapted to try to engage with everybody at Colney [Arsenal's training ground] and then the performances he is putting in as well." 

Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang is back in contention to start after a disciplinary breach led to him being benched for the win against Spurs. 

Asked whether Aubameyang had been stripped of the Arsenal captaincy, Arteta replied: "That was dealt with on the day. It's been resolved in a really positive way and we move on." 

Fellow forward Gabriel Martinelli could get a chance for valuable first-time minutes against Olympiacos, having struggled for fitness and form this season. 

"If anything, it's my fault," Arteta said over the Brazilian youngster's lack of game time. "He's done everything perfect. He trains incredibly well every day. His attitude cannot be any better. 

"He's really disappointed that he's not playing more, obviously I have spoken to him. But he needs to be a little bit patient. 

"He had some minutes, he had some games as well and it’s true that the competition now for the front positions is very tough. He needs to be patient and he will get his chance." 

Saka, meanwhile, faces a late fitness test having made way at half-time in the game with Spurs due to a hamstring complaint.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta insisted there were no hard feelings on his part towards Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang after the Gunners battled to north London derby glory without their captain.

Martin Odegaard's first Premier League goal for Arsenal and a second-half penalty from Alexandre Lacazette gave Arteta's men a 2-1 win over Tottenham, who turned in a meek display either side of a phenomenal rabona opener from Erik Lamela, who was later sent off.

Lacazette only started because Aubameyang fell foul of Arsenal's pre-match protocols, with the Gabon forward an unused substitute at Emirates Stadium.

Nevertheless, Arteta said the problem – reported to be a time-keeping issue – is already something to be forgotten about.

"He is an incredible guy and one of the most important players in the team," he told Sky Sports.

"He is our captain and these things happen. We have lots going on in our lives and people finding it hard with the restrictions.

"I will never tell anything that happens in the dressing room."

Arsenal failed to convince during the closing stages as Harry Kane had a header disallowed for offside and fired a free-kick against the post.

"Going 1-0 down the way we were playing was disappointing and worst-case scenario against a team like Spurs. But we kept playing and deserve the win," Arteta said,

"The last 10 minutes we did not manage the game and we need to improve as a team. We relied on luck. With the way we played we should have seen it out comfortably."

Arteta, who is the third consecutive Arsenal boss to win his first home league meeting with Spurs, following Arsene Wenger and Unai Emery, added: "We had some really strong performances today.

"You could see the energy they were playing with."It is about how you react. This team have the reaction in them to not give up. We kept playing and generating chances and got rewarded."

Alexandre Lacazette's second-half penalty proved decisive as Arsenal beat Tottenham 2-1 to dent the top-four hopes of Spurs, who saw goalscorer Erik Lamela sent off.

Arsenal's preparations for the game were by no means ideal as Mikel Arteta revealed pre-match that captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had been dropped for disciplinary reasons, reportedly relating to tardiness, but the Gunners were the better side from start to finish and deserved the points.

It looked like being a grating day for them after seeing Emile Smith Rowe and Cedric Soares denied by the woodwork either side of Lamela's quite remarkable breakthrough goal.

But Martin Odegaard restored parity on the stroke of half-time and Lacazette completed the turnaround from the spot in the second period to move Arsenal back to within four points of their seventh-placed rivals, with Lamela's dismissal 14 minutes from time hampering Tottenham in their late rally.

Spurs struggled to get out of their own half during the early exchanges and were fortunate to remain on level terms when Smith Rowe's dipping 25-yard strike hit the crossbar, while they lost Son Heung-min to injury soon after.

But Tottenham finally showed some attacking intent just past the half-hour mark and it led to their remarkable opener, Lucas Moura teeing up Lamela – Son's replacement – to produce a 'rabona' finish that went through Thomas Partey's legs and found the bottom-right corner.

Arsenal's frustration amped up as Cedric was the next Gunner to be denied by the frame of the goal, but a deserved equaliser did arrive just before the break when Odegaard turned in Kieran Tierney's cross with the aid of a deflection.

The hosts continued to control proceedings but had been struggling to break Spurs down before winning their penalty just after the hour – Davinson Sanchez clumsily fouling Lacazette after the Frenchman had unsuccessfully swiped at the bouncing ball.

Lacazette coolly converted the resulting spot-kick and Spurs' hopes suffered a major blow when Lamela caught Tierney in the face with a stray arm to earn him a second yellow card.

Late scares saw a Harry Kane header ruled out for offside and the same man hit the base of the post from a free-kick, but Arsenal held on to end their five-match winless run in the derby.

Arsenal dropped Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for the north London derby on Sunday due to disciplinary reasons.

The Gunners made three changes to the side that started the 3-1 Europa League win at Olympiacos on Thursday, with Cedric Soares, Emile Smith Rowe and Alexandre Lacazette in for Hector Bellerin, Willian and captain Aubameyang.

Manager Mikel Arteta told Sky Sports: "He was going to start the game. We had a disciplinary issue. We have drawn the line and we move on. He is on the bench.

"We keep [the nature of the issue] internally. We have a process that we have to respect for every game and that's it.

"It's a decision made after evaluating everything, who Auba is and what he's done and that's it.

"We've got other players and we've changed the team recently quite a lot. There are lots of players who are willing to play and deserve the chance. I'm comfortable with that."

Jose Mourinho made six alterations to the Tottenham side that beat Dinamo Zagreb 2-0, although Harry Kane, who scored both goals in that game, was passed fit to start after some concerns over an injury.

Matt Doherty, Toby Alderweireld, Sergio Reguilon, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Lucas Moura and Gareth Bale all came into the line-up.

Arsenal went into the contest at Emirates Stadium on a five-game winless run against their local rivals.

Spurs, who were bidding to go six derbies in a row without defeat for the first time, were also seeking a third league win in succession over Mikel Arteta's side for the first time since October 1974. That would secure a first Premier League double over their neighbours since 1992-93.

Mikel Arteta insists Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang still has much more to give to Arsenal despite a recent improvement in his performances.

The Gunners captain has only scored nine times in the Premier League this season, a marked reduction from the 44 he managed across the previous two campaigns.

Aubameyang scored just twice in 14 appearances in all competitions from mid-September to the middle of December, but his form in front of goal has improved of late, the Gabon international having netted eight times in his most recent nine outings.

Manager Arteta is happy with Aubameyang's improvement but believes there is more to come from the player.

"Obviously, the stats are much better and related to who he is and what he needs to bring to the team," Arteta told reporters ahead of Thursday's Europa League last-16 first leg against Olympiacos.

"But still, I think he could score many more and he could do better in other aspects. He needs to keep having that mentality and he has that mentality.

"We need players performing at their maximum. When Auba is in a much better place, obviously the team will be in a much better place because at the end, things are decided in both boxes, and what he can produce in the opponents' box has an incredible impact for our team.

"In big moments, you need to have big players performing and making the difference. It looks like, at this moment, he's firing, he's happy, physically he's in a good moment and he's full of confidence."

With Arsenal 10th in the Premier League table and with their FA Cup defence having been ended by Southampton, the Europa League represents their best chance of a trophy and a way back into the Champions League for next season.

Having announced a £47million loss last week amid the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, European football could be critical to Arteta's chances of putting together a squad capable of challenging England's best again.

Despite the potentially tricky year to come, Arteta is confident a major turning point is coming in Arsenal's modern history.

"I want a sustainable club. We all want a club that can be run with their own resources. It is great we have the support from our owners," he said.

"We have had that in the summer when it was much needed because of everything that has happened with COVID and what happened at the club in the last three years without the Champions League and the hit that that took.

"But our responsibility and everything we are planning for the future is for this club to go back to being sustainable on its own and being all the time as strong as possible in every department and the financial department is crucial as well.

"I think this project is going to go 'bang'. This is where we are, but sometimes it is difficult to see the moment now but I'm sure where we are going.

"We have created a really strong group, a really strong bond with our players, with our fans, with our staff and that is going to pay big in the future.

"You need to win to convince anybody that you are doing a good job in the club and taking them in the right direction.

"If you are not inside the club every day and know exactly what is going on within the club, the only way to convince anybody is to win."

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