Arteta says Aubameyang deserves “respect and gratitude”
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will face his former team when Arsenal host Chelsea for the first time since Mikel Arteta sacked him.
Arsenal will host Chelsea for the first time since Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who joined Chelsea in September, was sacked by Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta.
What happened between Aubameyang and Arsenal?
Things between Aubameyang and Arteta started off quite well. When he re-signed on an expensive contract with Arsenal, the then-captain said that Arteta was one of the main reasons he stayed with the club. Things started to go south in the 2020-21 season, when Aubameyang made several breaches in protocol.
It was the year following the Covid-19 pandemic and there were several new protocols to be followed. After missing time simply due to having the virus, Aubameyang came back to have success with the team, scoring four goals in six Premier League matches. The fourth, though, would be his last. After he was granted an exceptional leave to visit his sick mother in France, he returned to the club past his deadline. That led Arteta to strip him of his captaincy and begin to try to find a way for him to leave the club completely.
Arteta struggled to find any interest in Aubameyang in the January transfer window, so they eventually agreed to terminate the contract, and he left to play for Barcelona. It didn’t last too long and he made the move to Chelsea to become their newest striker.
If he starts for Chelsea today, he will face his former club and manager - the club at which he once said he’d like to become a “legend” and the manager who kept note of all his time mismanagement, stripped him of the armband, and terminated his contract with a £7 million pay-off.
The first time he played against Arsenal at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea released a promo in which he said “Arsenal, nothing personal - I’m back, I’m blue, I’m ready”, but then only had eight touches before being hooked after 64 minutes. This will be the first time he plays at his old stadium again.
Arteta insists Aubameyang deserves respect from fans
Chelsea interim manager Frank Lampard has said Aubameyang may start, especially considering the potential “certain motivation” he could have facing his former team, but it’s not been officially announced.
“I haven’t delved into that too much with Auba himself, so I’ll pick that position on feeling,” said Lampard. “My feeling of how they’ve trained and what the team structure looks like.”
Though there could be some tension between Aubameyang and Arteta, the Arsenal boss insists there are no ill feelings and called on the fans to receive him with respect.
“Let’s say thank you, pay respect and gratitude for what he was,” said Arteta. “He was an incredible player for us, scored a lot of goals, he was our captain, and he deserves that.”
He was asked if he remembers Aubameyang more for his goals and winning Arsenal the FA Cup rather than for the way things ended. He replied, “of course, that’s what I said. I said say thank you and be grateful.”