Soccer

Aubameyang leaves Arsenal squad hours before match due to ‘personal matter’

Arsenal were without Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for their FA Cup clash against Southampton.

The Gunners went into the game with the chance to book a Fifth Round tie against Premier League rivals Wolves, but were forced to do so without their captain in a last minute change to their plans.

The 31-year-old, who has been struggling in front of goal this season, suffered from a personal matter that occurred just hours before kick-off – forcing his manager to name two goalkeepers on the bench.

Mikel Arteta addressed the absence before the match, which left Arsenal fans feeling confused but supportive.

The Spaniard said: ”He had a personal matter in the last few hours and we had to send him back."

One fan wrote: “Best wishes to him and his family for whatever is going on.”

With a second adding: “Hope everything is okay, Auba. We are all behind you.”

And a third saying: “Sending our captain nothing but well wishes.”

Arteta told BT Sport before the match: "We're in a much better place, winning matches and playing well.

“Today we play our favourite competition.

“We have to defend it because we are the winners but we have a difficult opponent.

"We have to change because there are players who deserve a chance and we have some injuries as well."

The Gunners struggled to their their rhythm in the first-half of the clash at St Mary’s, with former Aston Villa defender Alan Hutton praising the hosts as they went into the lead.

He said: “That all comes back from Stuart Armstrong pressing, ratting about on the touchline and getting the ball back – they've been doing that all game.

“They are so good at it, pressing high up the pitch.”

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