LONDON: Mikel Arteta said captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang faced competition to be in the Arsenal team ahead of a visit to Aston Villa, tomorrow night Malaysian time following Nicola Pepe’s excellent performance.
Pepe scored in the 2-1 defeat to the Wolves last Tuesday and also found the target in the last three games of the league away.
The Ivory Coast striker’s position is now threatened by Aubameyang’s return, but Arteta says every player has to compete for their place – including Arsenal captain.
“We need to bring down the players who are at their best and everyone needs to get their place and contribute in the game.
“That’s what everyone does, competing with each other to improve performance. You can see the level getting higher because everyone is playing at their best. There is still a lot of room for improvement, so everyone has to keep working,” Arteta said.
Arsenal will play without Bernd Leno and David Luiz after both players were sent off against the Wolves, and Arsenal’s appeal for Luiz was rejected by the English Football Association.
Leno’s absence provided an opportunity for Alex Runarsson or Mat Ryan to take care of the Gunners goal, but Ryan suffered from back problems.