‘Absolutely brilliant’: Paul Merson praises Mikel Arteta for Arsenal decision

Paul Merson praises Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta for his decision to drop Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang against Spurs

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Photo: Adidas)

Paul Merson has heaped praise on Mikel Arteta for his decision to drop Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for Arsenal’s clash against Tottenham Hotspur.

The Gabon international was dropped to the bench for the Premier League showdown after he arrived late for the squad’s pre-game meet-up.

Arteta raised some eyebrows with his decision to bench the forward but the Gunners went on to come from a goal down to claim a 2-1 victory over their bitter local rivals at The Emirates.

Former Arsenal star Merson believes that Arteta’s bold decision to drop one of his key players will send a clear message to the rest of the Gunners squad.

Writing in his column for the Daily Star, Merson said: “I thought what he did in leaving Aubameyang on the bench for the north London derby after being late for a team meeting was absolutely brilliant.

“It’s the best bit of management he will ever do in his whole career.

“Arteta has to think of the future of the club – and the future of the club is players like Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka.

“If they are sitting in that meeting and Aubameyang strolls in late and you let him play in the game, you’re opening the door for them to do it too.

“Now they know. Now, they will never be late. Because Arteta has stamped his authority on it.

“He will have earned the respect of all his players doing that – even people like David Luiz and Granit Xhaka who have been around the block.”

Aubameyang will be hoping to feature when Arsenal return to Premier League action after the international break when they host Liverpool FC at The Emirates.

The Gunners will then prepare for their Europa League quarter-final showdown against Slavia Prague as they bid to make it through to the last four of Europe’s second tier club competition.

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