April 12, 2021

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Martin Keown wants Mikel Arteta to drop Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Picture: BT Sport)

Martin Keown has called for Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to be dropped.

Aubameyang has endured a mixed season for the Gunners, scoring 14 goals in 31 appearances in all competitions but often struggling to make an impact for Mikel Arteta’s side.

The Gabon international was one of a number of Arsenal players who were criticised following the club’s dismal 3-0 defeat to Premier League rivals Liverpool on Saturday.

‘Arteta has a big decision to make on his captain,’ Gunners legend Keown told MailSport.

‘He set an example by dropping Aubameyang for the north London derby recently. Aubameyang was supposed to start against Spurs but turned up late and was pulled.

‘Should Arteta not be dropping him for performing as poorly as he did against Liverpool? If he sticks with him, he risks losing the respect of the group.

‘It’s time to bring in 19-year-old Gabriel Martinelli. He is too good to be sitting on the bench.’

Aubameyang struggled during Arsenal’s dismal defeat to Liverpool (Picture: Getty)

Aubameyang has been Arsenal’s most important player over the past three seasons but his contributions have fallen away since he signed a new long-term deal at the Emirates last summer.

Martinelli has struggled with his fitness this season and as a result has made just 12 appearances, although he replaced Aubameyang during Saturday’s defeat to Liverpool.

‘His team-mates see him in training and know what he can do,’ Keown said of Martinelli. ‘They will be baffled by his continued absence. I know I am.

Gabriel Martinelli has barely featured for the Gunners this season (Picture: Getty)

‘Use him on the left. Use Bukayo Saka on the right. Start Emile Smith Rowe. Then you’ll have a team who can pose problems for the opposition. There were too many passengers against Liverpool.’

Arsenal face Slavia Prague in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final tie on Thursday night and Keown added: ‘There is no time for Arsenal’s players to feel sorry for themselves.

‘They need to bounce back against a Prague side who have knocked Leicester and Rangers out of the Europa League. Arteta has big decisions to make – ones he needs to get right.’

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