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Four Arsenal problems Mikel Arteta must solve after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang decision


Arsenal take on West Ham at the Emirates in a real test for both Mikel Arteta and David Moyes as the two sides contend for a spot in the top four of the Premier League

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Arteta reflects on ‘unpleasant situation’ as Aubameyang stripped of Arsenal captaincy

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta will see this season as his best chance to take the club into a Champions League spot.

The Gunners face West Ham at the Emirates with fourth spot in the Premier League very much on the agenda.

But they are not the only ones, with the likes of Tottenham and Manchester United also in the battle – while Leicester are not too far behind.

It means Arteta must put together a consistent stretch of form to fend off their Premier League rivals – but doing so has not proved easy as of yet.

Every week there seems to be a new drama with Arsenal and this one was no different after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had the captaincy taken off him.






Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is no longer Arsenal’s captain

Another disciplinary breach has forced Arteta’s hand and the 32-year-old simply adds to a worrying list of problems in north London.

So, what must the Spaniard address – and fast?

Captaincy

The most prominent matter in Arteta’s in-tray will be the captaincy problem after the decision to strip Aubameyang of the armband.

While Arsenal do not have an obvious replacement in mind straight away, there is hope that one of the younger batch could take on the role.

Arteta has a very clear idea how he wants his Gunners to play and giving the captaincy to one of the players he has brought in would help carry that message.

Kieran Tierney would be the favourite if not for his injury concerns, while Ben White, Gabriel and Aaron Ramsdale are also in contention.

Away Form







Arsenal have been poor away from home
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Image:

Getty Images)

Arsenal will have confidence going into tonight’s match against West Ham – mainly because it will be in front of their own fans.

On the road it is a different story, the Gunners have won just once away from the Emirates since September 19.

That is a major concern of Arteta’s, who knows that a consistent stretch of form will see them take full advantage of their Premier League rival’s woes.

Thankfully, Arsenal’s upcoming fixtures will see them stay in north London a while longer with four of their next six at home – while the other two matches are against struggling Leeds United and Norwich.

Soft Middle

To describe any midfield with Thomas Partey as ‘soft’ might be a stretch but the Ghana international appears to still be getting used to the vigour of the Premier League.

At times, the 28-year-old can dominate a game whereas others he is more of a passenger yet it is his partner that is giving Arteta a headache.

Granit Xhaka is the obvious choice – simply out of a lack of options – but the Switzerland international can implode at any given moment while Albert Sambi Lokonga will also need to settle into life in England.







Thomas Partey is still acclimatising to the Premier League
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Image:

Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Arteta’s other options include Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who is unfancied, or dropping Martin Odegaard deeper – something the Gunners boss is reluctant to do as he urges the Norwegian further afield.

Deadwood galore

Arteta has gone someway to clear out the high-earners that he did not want, including Shkodran Mustafi and Mesut Ozil, but there is still work to do.

Sead Kolasinac looks destined to leave anyway with his contract set to expire at the end of the season but a serious decision must be made over Aubameyang, who has seen his goals dry up as well as several disciplinary issues to his name now.

Should Arsenal cut ties with the 32-year-old? But the biggest issue remains with Nicolas Pepe – who at £72m looks completely lost and out of the reckoning.

The Ivorian has played eight times in the Premier League, registering one assist and no goals and it might be time for Arteta to ditch the 26-year-old – with Bukayo Saga much more effective on the right-hand flank.

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