Premier League • England

Mikel Arteta hints Arsenal better off without Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in veiled dig at Chelsea striker

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has responded to Chelsea striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang after the former Gunners star slammed his old boss in a recently leaked video.

The Gabon forward quit The Emirates in controversial circumstances in January after he fell out with Arteta. He was also stripped of the club’s captaincy over disciplinary issues.

The 33-year-old, who scored 92 goals across 163 games for Arsenal, moved to Barcelona on deadline day. However, after only six months in Catalonia he ended up back in the Premier League with Chelsea.

Aubameyang, who has scored three goals in his last three games for the Blues, filmed an interview with A Jewellers on their YouTube channel shortly after leaving Arsenal. And that video was recently released, with Aubameyang aiming several digs at Arteta after their acrimonious split.

“We knew the coach, Xavi, then he called me and said there is an opportunity. Because you have those problems with Arsenal. But if you come you will help us a lot, so I said okay,” Aubameyang said in the video.

“But to manage big characters or big players, he [Arteta] can’t deal with it. He [Arteta] needs some young players, they don’t say anything, they listen.”

Arteta has now responded, telling reporters on Wednesday ahead of Arsenal‘s clash Europa League clash with Bodo/Glimt: “People are free to discuss what they want.

“I have never been in a better dressing room… it’s an absolute pleasure to be in this group.”

Aubameyang backtracks over comments

Aubameyang has since addressed the leaked clip, posting on Twitter on Monday: “I’m aware there is a video out that was recorded just after I arrived at Barca.

“At the time I still had a lot of bad feelings in me. Arsenal are doing great things this season and I wish all my old guys well, just not on November 6 [when Chelsea host the Gunners].”

In the video, Aubameyang had also rubbished accusations he was only motivated by money – and the rumoured £350,000-a-week contract he was on in north London.

“I wanted to show them [Arsenal] because they thought this guy [only plays] because of the money,” he added.

“But okay, let me go everywhere else I’ll show you, that’s no problem, I will show you.”

Aubameyang is next in action for Chelsea on Sunday when they head to Aston Villa. The Gunners, meanwhile, take on Leeds at Elland Road on the same day.

Arsenal could stretch their lead further at the top this weekend win a win in west Yorkshire. Nearest rivals Manchester City have a tough test against Liverpool at The Etihad.

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