Mikel Arteta preferred to focus on Arsenal’s comfortable 3-0 victory over Southampton despite repeated questions over Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s absence.
Arteta left out Aubameyang on Saturday due to a “disciplinary breach”, but Alexandre Lacazette stepped up and delivered the opening goal in the first half.
Martin Odegaard soon added a second at Emirates Stadium – where Southampton have never won in 23 Premier League games, the longest barren run for one team away to another in the competition’s history – with Gabriel netting after the interval.
Arsenal are unbeaten in 27 home league games against Southampton dating back to November 1987, their joint-longest such run against any opponent, and Arteta was keen to discuss the performance rather than Aubameyang.
“The first 15 minutes we started nervy; after that I think we picked up the rhythm of the game, scored a really good goal and started to dominate the game,” Arteta told reporters after the game.
Pressed for an update on Aubameyang’s situation, Arteta responded: “Let’s talk about the game, guys. I’m not going to say anything else, I want to focus on the performance.
“I am really happy that we won. I’m telling you you’re not going to get anything else from me.
“I cannot say anything else. You’re not going to get anything else from me out of the dressing room.”
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 11, 2021
Arteta then hinted at a return for Aubameyang in the next game against West Ham as he nodded in response to whether the forward’s absence was just for one match.
Meanwhile, the manager was impressed with Odegaard, who has scored three goals in as many games, having only scored twice in his previous 25 Premier League appearances.
“He should have scored a hat-trick against Everton,” Arteta added. “He’s getting in the box more and is understanding what he has to do for the team.”
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