Arteta holds ‘positive’ Aubameyang talks, but captain not certain to return

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LONDON – Mikel Arteta has held “positive” talks with Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang after dropping him for a breach of club discipline, but refused to guarantee the Gabon forward will get his place back against Olympiakos on Thursday (March 18).

Aubameyang was left on the bench after reportedly arriving late for a team meeting before Arsenal beat north London rivals Tottenham 2-1 on Sunday.

The 31-year-old left the Emirates Stadium instead of joining his fellow substitutes for a warm-down session on the pitch after the match.

Gunners boss Arteta said he had to take a strong approach with Aubameyang to sustain the club’s long-term foundation.

The Spaniard has cleared the air with Aubameyang but stopped short of saying the striker would be recalled for the Europa League last 16 second leg against Olympiakos.

“We talked. Everything has been resolved in a really positive way. So we move forward,” Arteta told reporters on Wednesday.

“Everybody has to obviously perform at the highest level to earn his place in the team and there is no exceptions there.

“We will try and put a really competitive team out to try and win the game.”

Arsenal midfielder Mohamed Elneny praised Aubameyang for the qualities he brings to the club both on and off the pitch.

“Auba is just one of the best players we have,” Elneny said.

“To me outside of the pitch he is an amazing person. Mikel has spoken about it and it has finished everything but as a team-mate he is one of the best.

“Auba is our captain and he always supports us on and off the pitch and he is an amazing person as well.”

Arsenal lead 3-1 from the first leg against Olympiakos as they bid to move a step closer to winning the Europa League, which would secure qualification for next season’s Champions League.

“It is a really important game for us, nothing has been decided. We know it is going to be tough and everyone has to be ready,” Arteta said.

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