Mikel Arteta has given an update on the fitness of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, ahead of Arsenal’s clash with Newcastle United this weekend.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang returned to the Arsenal matchday squad that faced Villarreal on Thursday, but he only made an appearance as a substitute late in the game.
Reports suggested he wasn’t up to full fitness, nor fully healthy after his recent battle with malaria. The striker made himself available to be called upon by Arteta, but he’d barely trained fully since his last match on April 8th, three weeks ago.
Mikel Arteta has since seemingly confirmed these reports, adding that Aubameyang still isn’t fit to start ahead of the trip to Newcastle United this Sunday.
“He hasn’t trained much, he is still not at the level in his physique that he should be to start,” Arteta said. “We will see again tomorrow (Saturday) how he is.
“[On Thursday], he could only play a few minutes but we managed to get him on the pitch, which is great news for us.”
Even if Aubameyang manages to return to make a last-minute fitness burst to be available for Newcastle United, Arteta may consider leaving him on the bench anyway. He won’t want to risk injury or fatigue ahead of the Villarreal second leg.
The other factor at play is Alexandre Lacazette’s fitness. If he’s available for next Thursday’s game, it takes some of the pressure off Aubameyang’s shoulders. But that’s another big ‘if’.