Belfast Telegraph

Arteta wants Gunners strikeforce to fire in Aubameyang's absence

Crystal Palace 1 Arsenal 1

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

By George Sessions

Mikel Arteta has challenged Arsenal's attacking players to step up in the absence of captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

The Gabonese forward received a red card for violent conduct during Saturday's 1-1 draw at Crystal Palace and will miss the club's next three games.

Record signing Nicolas Pepe has found the net five times this term while six-goal Alexandre Lacazette has not struck for the Gunners since December 12.

"They have to make a step forward now," said Arteta. "If he (Aubameyang) is not able to contribute to the team with goals like this, then someone else has to do it and I want to see that reaction too.

"Probably the most important player is missing so it is not nice, but we have other players who can play in that position."

It was put to Arteta that one solution could be to hand Eddie Nketiah a chance after he returned from his loan spell at Leeds.

He insisted: "At the moment we have to think mid-to-long term with Eddie. We have to respect his evolution and development and we don't have to make a decision just based on two or three games."

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