(Reuters) - Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta said he is unsure if skipper Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will be available for their Premier League trip to Southampton on Tuesday as the Gabon international striker deals with a personal matter.
Aubameyang missed Saturday’s 1-0 FA Cup fourth-round defeat by Southampton which knocked the holders out of the competition. Arteta said the 31-year-old had been withdrawn a few hours before the game began.
“He had a personal matter in the last few hours and we had to send him back,” Arteta told Arsenal’s website before the contest at St Mary’s Stadium.
Asked by reporters later if Aubameyang would be ready for their league clash against the Saints, Arteta said: “I don’t know. He needs to address that issue and see how it evolves.
“We’re here to support him and he needs to take the time that’s needed because that’s a priority at the moment.”
Aubameyang had signed a new three-year deal in September after guiding Arsenal to the FA Cup title last season, ending speculation over a potential exit from the London side.
He has struggled for form and fitness this season with seven goals in all competitions.
Spaniard Arteta said he was disappointed by their FA Cup exit thanks to Gabriel’s first-half own goal.
“We wanted to continue in the competition. We had a dream to do it again - like we did it last year - step by step, but that dream is over,” Arteta added.
“I’m disappointed with the way we conceded the goal in an area where we know we shouldn’t be doing that and giving the lead to the opponent.
“I cannot fault the effort of the players, how they tried, how they improved throughout the game and tried to go for the goal in the second half.”
Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by William Mallard
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