Mikel Arteta brushes off the criticism of ex-Gunner Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta attends a press conference before the UEFA Europa League group A match between FK Bodo/Glimt and Arsenal FC at Aspmyra Stadion on October 12, 2022 in Bodo, Norway. 

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has hit back at criticism from former captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – insisting his current squad is more “hard-working” than in previous years.

Aubameyang left the Emirates Stadium for Barcelona in February, his contract torn up having not been in and around the first-team after Arteta dropped his then skipper for returning late from an agreed break.

His stint in Spain lasted just seven months before he returned to the Premier League with Chelsea and a video emerged in recent days of the Gabon forward slating Arteta’s management skills.

“To manage big characters or big players, he (Arteta) can’t deal with it,” Aubameyang was recorded as saying in an interview with A Jewellers. “He (Arteta) needs some young players, they don’t say anything, they listen.”

Since the video was first shared, Aubameyang took to social media to explain his comments, writing part of a tweet which read: “Aware there is a video out that was recorded just after I arrived at Barca. At the time I still had a lot of bad feelings in me – Arsenal are doing great things this season and I wish all my old guys well, just not on November 6.”

Arteta was asked about Aubameyang’s comments on the eve of Arsenal’s Europa League clash with Bodo/Glimt.

“People are free to discuss what they want,” he said.

“I have never been in a better dressing-room (than this season) – more enjoyable, more hard-working, a better relationship between staff and players and it is an absolute pleasure as a coach to be a part of this group.”

Arteta has left in-form striker Gabriel Jesus at home for today’s game inside the Arctic Circle.

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