Football

Aubameyang a doubt for Southampton game due to 'personal matter'

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta said he is unsure if skipper Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will be available for their English Premier League trip to Southampton on Wednesday morning (Singapore time) as the Gabon international striker deals with a personal matter.

Aubameyang missed last Saturday's 1-0 FA Cup fourth-round defeat by Southampton, which knocked the holders out of the competition. Arteta said the 31-year-old had been withdrawn a few hours before the game began.

"He had a personal matter in the last few hours and we had to send him back," Arteta told Arsenal's website before the contest at St Mary's.

Asked by reporters later if Aubameyang would be ready for their league clash against the Saints, Arteta said: "I don't know. He needs to address that issue and see how it evolves."

Arteta added that he was "disappointed" by their FA Cup exit thanks to Gabriel's first-half own goal, adding: "We wanted to continue in the competition. We had a dream to do it again."

However, some pundits raised doubts over Arteta's desire to retain the FA Cup.

Former Gunners midfielder Paul Merson questioned the Spaniard's starting XI, telling Sky Sports: "I don't know what [ARTETA'S](Arteta's) doing.[/ARTETA'S] They aren't going to win the league. They aren't going to get in the top four... This is a more important game than the midweek league game."

His former teammate Ray Parlour added on talkSPORT: "You have to put out a strong side... Teams that can't win the title but aren't going to be relegated, why do they rest players in the cup? I just don't get it!" - REUTERS

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