Mikel Arteta says Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is having a “difficult time” and dedicated Arsenal’s 3-1 Premier League win at Southampton to his captain, who missed the match due to ‘personal family reasons’.
The Gunners moved up to eighth, five points off the top four, and gained a measure of revenge for their defeat to the south coast side in the FA Cup fourth round on Saturday.
Nicolas Pepe, Bukayo Saka and Alexandre Lacazette scored after Stuart Armstrong had given Southampton an early lead, to help Arsenal register another win, meaning they’ve now taken 16 points from a possible 18 top flight games.
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No details have been given for the absence of Aubameyang, who pulled out of the squad hours before Saturday’s FA Cup tie, but his team-mates appeared to show their support for the skipper during their goal celebrations.
"I loved how they support each other and how they protect each other”, said Arteta.
Auba is having a difficult time and we are all behind him. This win was for him.
With Arsenal experiencing an upturn in form, the Champions League qualification places are now in sight, but it’s not something Arteta is focusing on, for now.
"I don't want to look at the table," he said.
"I want to look at ourselves, how we can get better, the reason we are playing better and winning football matches.
"Tomorrow is another day, train, improve in many areas and see where we get."
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Southampton head coach Ralph Hasenhuttl admits his team are down to the bare bones, having recently lost Kyle Walker-Peters to injury, with Ryan Bertrand sitting out last night’s game due to suspension.
"We are definitely running out of players at the moment, I hope a few are coming back but at the moment it is like it is, this situation is not nice but it is why we shouldn't be too negative”, he said.
"We have 29 points, we knew such situations could come for us, if we have injuries it certainly hurts us more than the top teams.”
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