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Twitter reacts as Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is benched for north London derby

For both Arsenal and Tottenham, there is no bigger fixture on the Premier League calendar than the north London derby.

With both sides enduring tricky seasons so far, Sunday’s meeting between the two always looked like being extra special. For Arsenal, victory would keep their top-four hopes alive and put a dent in Spurs’, so you’d expect the Gunners to go gung ho for this one.

So, to see top scorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang dropped to the bench came as somewhat of a surprise.

Most important game of a dead PL season & he leaves our 250k a week best player & captain on the bench for Lacazette. pic.twitter.com/oZ1XLGJl0L

— IanWrightsGoldTooth #ArtetaOut (@WrightysTooth) March 14, 2021

While there’s no denying that Aubameyang is yet to hit top form this season, he came into the game with four goals in his last four Premier League games. On that alone, he deserved to start, so there must have been something wrong behind the scenes.

Well, that’s exactly what’s going on.

Manager Mikel Arteta told Sky Sports News: “He was going to start the game. We had a disciplinary issue. We have drawn the line and we move on. He is on the bench.

“Obviously we keep it internal. We have a process that we have to respect for every game, and that’s it. It’s a decision made after evaluating everything, who Auba is and what he has done. That’s it.”

Oooooooo.

Auba dropped for disciplinary reasons? One normal day is all I ask for man. ???

— LTArsenal™ (@ltarsenal) March 14, 2021

My man said “Auba you won’t start for disciplinary reasons but you’ll be on the bench so you can rescue me when I’m losing”

— chief (@chief_afc) March 14, 2021

I don’t really care if he dropped Auba for disciplinary issues.

I do care that he decided to go public with it.

Just say it’s a tactical decision. This just attracts more attention.

— Walid Arsenal ⚽️ (@1Walid1) March 14, 2021

Auba left out for disciplinary reasons. Maybe the mask slipped.

— Paul O Keefe (@pokeefe1) March 14, 2021

It’s a huge decision from Arteta, who will know just how important this game is to Arsenal‘s season. Victory here could kick-start a real resurgence, but a defeat may well be the end of their campaign.

Aubameyang’s absence from the starting lineup is obviously a major talking point, but the absence of fellow forward Gabriel Martinelli comes as just as much of a surprise.

The 19-year-old Brazilian, who has been glued to the bench for the past six games, does not even make the matchday squad this time around. If this is easing him back from his injury, Arteta looks to have gone a little OTT.

Gabriel Martinelli being omitted from the squad is a strange one. I’m all for the gradual reintegration of a 19yo and considering the injury he suffered, but to feel he can’t add to *this* game?

Even if he’s not tactically tuned in yet, he has so much quality. #NLD #ARSTOT

— Ross (@SwedishRoss) March 14, 2021

Martinelli deserves better man.

— Max ✍? (@AFCMax9) March 14, 2021

If Arteta wasn’t going to play Martinelli he should have loaned him. Giving him 0 minutes is not “easing him back in”, it’s completely discarding a season of potential development.

He should have gone on loan to Brighton. He’d have got PL minutes, and helped them a lot.

— Max ✍? (@AFCMax9) March 14, 2021

Auba dropped for a disciplinary issue but still in the squad ?, makes you wonder what Martinelli has been up to ?. If there’s a disciplinary issue why wasn’t Auba dropped from the match day squad entirely. And why drop him today, drop him next game, nobody would have known ?!

— Mr Doobs (@Ben_Dubois16) March 14, 2021

To add to the frustration, there was also no place in the starting lineup for £72m signing Nicolas Pepe, who has three goals in his last seven league games. The Ivorian was rested last time out in the 1-1 draw with Burnley, but there was seemingly no good reason for that as he’s back on the bench this time around.

He’s joined on the bench by Willian, who is in the best form of his Arsenal career with four assists in his last four games – the kind of form you might want for the biggest game of the season.

Pepe benched for the last 2 games to sit on bench today in preparation for an appearance from the bench on Thursday.

— YBM (@MATheGooner) March 14, 2021

No Willian??? Dkm Arteta has given up before the game has begun una

— aaron? (@ftbljeff) March 14, 2021

For more from ​Tom Gott, follow him on ​Twitter!

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