Paul Merson has questioned Mikel Arteta’s decision to start Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in Arsenal’s 1-0 win over Brighton on Tuesday.
The Gunners skipper returned to the starting XI after missing the last two through injury, replacing Alexandre Lacazette in the side.
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Aubameyang struggled against Brighton, and before the game, Merson felt Arteta missed an opportunity to make a big “statement” by putting the striker on the bench.
“That would have been a massive statement tonight,” Merson said. “If I am the manager, and it doesn’t seem to be all going well there at Arsenal with results recently. What a statement, pick that team [that started v Chelsea], Aubameyang wasn’t ready, they win the game and you [Auba] are sub.
“All the players then start going ‘woah, I like this’. This is the problem. You start losing the players. Lacazette is thinking ‘wait there a minute, Aubameyang is getting another chance’. I know he is a good player but everyone has a dip in form.
“And it [would have been] a statement [to put Aubameyang on the bench] – but, at the moment, if I am a player and I am in the dressing room everyone will be going ‘Oh, this is a joke’. And that’s the way it goes. It doesn’t matter how good you are. It’s all on form. I just thought it’s a bad decision this.”