Arsenal were without Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette for yesterday’s defeat against Brentford, and both strikers are doubts for next week’s match against Chelsea. Both players, along with Alex Runarsson, missed yesterday’s match because they were unwell.
This news has caused a lot of speculation about both players’ future. Arsenal have reportedly been open to selling Lacazette, who has one year left on his contract, and perhaps the Gunners would sell Aubameyang if an offer came in for the club captain, who of course, signed a bumper contract extension for three seasons last September. Yet the most likely outcome here is both players are sick. In the absence of Aubameyang and Lacazette, Mikel Arteta had to hand out a Premier League debut to Folarin Balogun, and use Gabriel Martinelli from the left. Martinelli has only just returned from the Olympic games, and while Arteta has in the past disciplined players, leaving out two senior strikers would be a ludicrous act of self-sabotage from a manager who knows his job is under threat.
The most likely outcome is that both players are indeed sick, and if they have certain symptoms, they have to go into a period of isolation, meaning that the fixture against Chelsea comes just too soon. Indeed, the last time people were dubious about Aubameyang being sick, he turned out to have contracted malaria, so this seems real in a way that a nondescript back injury would not.