Mikel Arteta denies rumors of a rift with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang after Old Trafford substitution… and insists he has the relationship ‘he wants’ with out-of-form Arsenal captain

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  • Aubameyang was replaced by a goal from Arsenal at Old Trafford
  • Thierry Henry and Alan Shearer said the replacement had ‘humiliated’ the striker
  • Pundits suggest there should be a rift between Arteta and Aubameyang
  • The Arsenal striker has struggled for form this season, scoring only four goals
  • Mikel Arteta insists ties remain strong with Arsenal captain

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Mikel Arteta has insisted there is no rift between him and Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

The Gabon striker has been struggling for form this season with only four goals and was dropped midweek at Manchester United when Arsenal were desperate for a draw.

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Arteta’s decision prompted comments from pundit Alan Shearer and Arsenal legend Thierry Henry that there must be a problem between the pair and that the player was humiliated.

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Mikel Arteta denies rumors of a rift between him and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Arteta was quick to set the record straight as he geared up for a crucial trip to North-West and his former club Everton on Monday night.

He said: ‘I can guarantee you there are no cracks. You have to respect their (Henry and Shearer’s) opinion, but I can tell you the relationship I have with them is.

“When I make decisions in the line-up with 15, 20, 30 minutes left or at the start, it is done with one intention and that is to get the best out of the team.

It was humiliating to have Aubameyang back at such a crucial moment, he said: ‘It’s the last word I’ll use with my players because if it’s an insult, imagine what it would be like for those left out of the team’ . ,

The Arsenal captain missed a brilliant opportunity in Arsenal's 3-2 loss at Old Trafford in the middle of the week

The Arsenal captain missed a brilliant opportunity in Arsenal’s 3-2 loss at Old Trafford in the middle of the week

The Gabon international was replaced shortly afterwards as Arsenal chased down an equalizer.

The Gabon international was replaced shortly afterwards as Arsenal chased down an equalizer.

Aubameyang won the Golden Boot in his first full season in the Premier League and was awarded a bumper contract after propelling Arsenal to FA Cup glory.

Now his place is under threat from youngsters like Gabriel Martinelli. Arteta said: ‘Obviously he is contributing to the Games in different ways. Unfortunately he didn’t score as many runs as you would expect in terms of goals.

‘You’re always worried when your main striker isn’t scoring, but he’s trying his best and he knows how much we need him in the team to score.

‘At the moment they are not coming but the rest of the things we ask them to do’ [are], He is trying to give his best.

Thierry Henry and Alan Shearer said Aubameyang was humiliated by the replacement

Thierry Henry and Alan Shearer said Aubameyang was humiliated by the replacement

But Arteta insists his relationship with the Arsenal captain is as good as ever

But Arteta insists his relationship with the Arsenal captain is as good as ever

Leaving Aubameyang in such an important match would be a big call as Arsenal try to keep in touch with the fight for a place in the top four.

But there is an outside chance that enigmatic midfielder Granit Zaka could be in the squad for the first time since sustaining an ankle injury in September’s win over Tottenham.

The Swiss international captain was not expected to approach the new year well. Arteta said of Zaka, ‘This week he has again progressed to a different level. ‘We’ll have a conversation and decide when it’s best to start giving him some exposure.

Granit Xaka could be in the squad for Monday's game against Everton for the first time since an ankle injury in September's win over Tottenham

Granit Xaka could be in the squad for Monday’s game against Everton for the first time since an ankle injury in September’s win over Tottenham

‘Bringing him back would be a big boost. we miss him. He is one of our leaders.

Arteta thought of Everton boss Rafael Benitez under pressure amid poor results and talk of a fan walk-out during the match.

Arteta said: ‘He knows better than me how to handle situations like this.

‘I don’t need to send messages to his fans about what to do. We know his qualities.’

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