Mikel Arteta refuses to confirm when Aubameyang will return after Arsenal axe

Mikel Arteta has refused to provide further insight as to when – or if – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will be making a return to the Arsenal squad.

The Gabon international was stripped of his captaincy and dropped from the squad earlier this week for having made a series of disciplinary breaches.

Arteta was quizzed before Arsenal’s encounter with West Ham at the Emirates on Wednesday night but held firm in saying anything other than that Alexandre Lacazette would be captaining the side for the London clash.

The Spaniard responded when asked why Lacazette would be wearing the armband: “Just to give some continuity to what we did in the last game. He [Lacazette] was the captain in the last game, so we’re going to continue like this.

“It’s the choice we had made at the start of the season with the list we had of the players in order, and we’re going to maintain that.

“For now, he’s not involved in the squad and I want to focus on the game today.”

The striker, who was also omitted from the side when the Gunners beat Southampton at the weekend, has scored 21 times in his past 53 appearances. But his total for this season is just seven, a figure heavily tallied by his hat-trick against West Brom’s youngsters in the Carabao Cup.

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Arteta had previously said of the forward and why he’s been dropped: “The decision we have taken as a club is very clear. It is because we believe he has failed to be committed as the level we all expect and agree. It is as simple as that.

“What I expect from any person in this football club, that is representing this badge, is passion and that he gives absolutely 100%, that he puts the club in front of any personal interests and is able to do anything to fulfil the badge we have on the chest.

“Apart from that, you can listen to individuals and you can understand different cultures, but that commitment and passion has to be there. Unfortunately, it wasn’t.”

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