Premier League • England

Arteta feels ‘piece of art’ proves Arsenal progress but silent on rebel

Mikel Arteta celebrates Arsenal's win at Leicester

Mikel Arteta was delighted with Arsenal’s display in beating Southampton but refused to divulge the reason why Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was omitted.

The Gunners were looking to hit back from three defeats in four top-flight outings. But they were hamstrung before a ball was kicked as Aubameyang was not in the matchday squad. He was left out of the party due to an unspecified breach of discipline, with reports he missed Friday’s training session.

And the north Londoners were second best early in the match as Saints carved out a few chances. But a moment of brilliance turned the tide.

Alexandre Lacazette finished off a sweeping move involving 16 passes to give the hosts the lead. They were 2-0 up at the interval as Martin Odegaard grabbed another on 27 minutes.

Gabriel rounded off the scoring just after the hour mark and Arteta praised the way his charges responded to recent losses.

“I’m very pleased. After a difficult period, we had two defeats where I don’t think we deserved to lose the games but we did,” he told BBC Sport. “We started the game a little bit nervy, you could tell that we were carrying that feeling still, but we finished strong.”

And the Spaniard hailed the way his side combined to score the opening goal.

“It was [a ‘piece of art’] – that’s our identity, the way we want to play, it’s not possible to score all the goals like that. But that’s the direction we want to take,” he added.

Arsenal targetting Wijnaldum, Richarlison

Their improvements need to be made further up the field, and these two targets show they clearly understand that.

“I am very happy. It’s a contribution from the whole game, what is required in every moment and then the execution and that’s what we’ve been lacking a little bit, because the intention is there, it’s just doing it more consistently.”

Arteta tight-lipped on Aubameyang

The news on Aubameyang’s omission dominated the pre-match talk. The Gabon international also made only a cameo appearance against Everton on Monday.

But the manager refused to divulge any specific details as to what happened with the African.

Alexandre Lacazette Arsenal 2021 TEAMtalk1

“He had a disciplinary breach, that applies to everybody. That’s a non-negotiable and when that happens he’s out of the team,” he continued. “Whatever happens in the dressing room, I cannot share. I am sorry. I’m telling you the reason, I cannot lie, it was that, this is where I stand.

“From my side, I will never [say what the breach was.]”

READ MORE: Exit rumours grow as pundit lays blame squarely at Arsenal sulk