Match of the Day host Gary Lineker felt Mikel Arteta was setting a dangerous precedent by dropping captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for disciplinary issues from the Arsenal side that beat Tottenham.
The Gunners came from behind to beat Tottenham 2-1 and keep alive their hopes of securing European football next season.
However, all the talk after the game was about Arteta’s decision to drop Aubameyang. That decision came after he was late for a team meeting ahead of the game.
Arteta explained before kick-off that Aubameyang was benched for a disciplinary issue. After the match though Arteta was keen to move on and draw a line under the saga.
“He is an incredible guy and one of the most important players in the team.
“He is our captain and these things happen. We have lots going on in our lives and people finding it hard with the restrictions. I will never tell anything that happens in the dressing room,” he said.
Pictures later emerged of Aubameyang stuck in traffic in the Muswell Hill area of London trying to get to Emirates Stadium. However, it was then claimed that Aubameyang’s tardiness wasn’t the first time – forcing Arteta to act.
Nonetheless, the punishment drew criticism from Lineker, who hinted Arteta now must act the same way to others.
“Can’t be, surely? You fine players for being late, not drop them,” the former England striker tweeted.
“If that is the case, it’s a dangerous game to play.”
Arsenal icon Freddie Ljungberg added on Sky Sports: “It’s a weird one. It upsets your team a little bit.
“Listening (to Arteta), the only thing l can think of is that he has been late or something because he is still on the bench. So it can’t be that bad.
“But of course it upsets the players. He’s Arsenal’s top man. He’s the one you look for and if he gets one vs one against the defender, you know he can score quite easily.
“It’s not good for Arsenal and it must be something big to leave him out.”
Aubameyang offers seven-word response
Aubameyang himself followed his manager’s lead by refusing to say too much on the issue.
The striker cut a frustrated figure while sat in the stands as his teammates deservedly claimed the win.
And after the match, the Arsenal striker didn’t say much.
Taking to social media, Aubameyang was only looking to celebrate his side’s victory.
Alongside a picture of the celebrations, he posted: “North London is Red and that’s it!!!”