Football

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta: Goals best medicine for Lacazette

Arsenal manager looks to help striker regain scoring touch, as Auba serves ban

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is looking to help Alexandre Lacazette rediscover his goal-scoring touch, with fellow striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang set to serve a three-match ban.

Arsenal's top scorer Aubameyang was sent off for a rash challenge on Crystal Palace's Max Meyer during their 1-1 English Premier League draw last Saturday.

Arteta said the striker would serve a three-match suspension after an appeal to reduce it to one game was rejected.

EPL
ARSENAL SHEFFIELD UNITED

"It has been confirmed that he is going to be suspended for three games," he said ahead of 10th-placed Arsenal's league match against Sheffield United tomorrow.

"It's a big shame and a big loss for us as well because we know Auba's intention when he plays. But, unfortunately, he mistimed the tackle, he made a decision and we have to accept it.

"Players have to step up. You know, when one of your big players is not there, the others have to take responsibility."

Lacazette, who has scored only five times in the league this season, is expected to lead the line, but he has struggled for form and has not found the back of the net in six games in all competitions.

"You can help Lacazette by talking to him and giving him confidence, but that ball has to end up in the net," Arteta said.

"That's the best medicine for strikers. What we have to try to do is put Laca in positions where he can have as many chances as possible to do that during a game."

With the transfer window open until the end of the month, Arteta confirmed he had a wish list, but said there was "no truth at all" regarding media rumours linking Manchester City defender John Stones to the north London club.

"John is a player that I really like," the Spaniard said.

"We signed him when I was at City and I worked with him for many years and know him well. When I look at centre-backs, he has many attributes that I like but we're not interested."

He said Sead Kolasinac (thigh injury) and Lucas Torreira (hip) are being assessed ahead of tomorrow's game, while Hector Bellerin, sidelined early last month with a hamstring issue, needs more training sessions before he is ready.

Looking beyond the Sheffield game, Arteta said that Arsenal will assess security measures before giving the all-clear to a mid-season training camp in Dubai during the club's two-week winter break.

Premier League sides have often used venues in the Middle East for warm-weather training, but Manchester United have scrapped their plans to travel next month in the wake of an American air strike at Baghdad airport that killed Iranian general Qassem Soleimani.

SECURITY DECISION

Arsenal had been set for a four-day camp ahead of their EPL match against Newcastle United on Feb 16, but Arteta said security would dictate where the squad end up going.

"The security decision will be the priority," he said.

"If we are advised by the club and the people making those decisions that it's not safe, we won't be going anywhere."

Arsenal's mid-season break could also be disrupted by a potential FA Cup replay.

Should Arsenal draw their FA Cup fourth-round tie at Bournemouth on Jan 27, the replay is scheduled to take place the following mid-week.

Arteta accused football authorities of disregarding player safety, but said the club will accept the "bizarre scenario".

"We know where the priorities are with the fixtures and the priority... is not to protect the players and have everybody with the same condition," he added. - REUTERS

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