Image source: David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images
Former Arsenal star Paul Merson has issued a warning to manager Mikel Arteta ahead of the Gunners’ UEFA Europa League quarter-final second-leg against Slavia Prague on Thursday evening.
The Gunners will travel to the Czech Republic looking to reach the semi-finals of the competition for the second time in three seasons. The tie is evenly poised at 1-1 after last week’s first-leg at the Emirates Stadium.
“Something is going on with Aubameyang – I do not know what it is,” Merson said. “Last Thursday was the biggest game Arsenal have played in for a long time. Their biggest earner and name was sitting on the bench
“If I need to win a football match and I know I will get chances there – I need my best goalscorer on the pitch. If he does not bring anything else to the party, he will put the ball in the back of the net.
“He finds himself at the back post tapping them in and there is an art to that. So for me, he plays, as they have to win. You have to get your goalscorers on the pitch when you have to win.”
Should Aubameyang win his fitness battle and be in a strong position to start the game, Merson is hoping to see the Gabon international start upfront alongside Alexandre Lacazette.
Merson added: “I have to play my star man. And I would play him up front alongside [Alexandre Lacazette] with three in attack with [Bukayo] Saka or Nicolas Pepe and say to them, ‘just get us a goal, we will defend’ and they will cause havoc.”