Gunners' Aubameyang in doubt for EPL derby

Mark Mann-Bryans
·2-min read

Arsenal are sweating on the fitness of captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang ahead of their Boxing Day Premier League clash with London rivals Chelsea.

The forward has missed the last two games with a calf injury and boss Mikel Arteta will be keen to have him back as the Gunners look to address their poor run of form.

Thomas Partey (thigh) is expected to miss out again but fellow midfielder Granit Xhaka is available having served a three-match ban and Gabriel Martinelli is likely to be fit after limping off against Manchester City on Tuesday.

The Gunners have not won a domestic match since November 1 and sit 15th in the Premier League table - just four points clear of the relegation zone - ahead of the Chelsea clash.

Most of Arteta's experienced players have experienced a dip in form at the same time, with the likes of Willian, Xhaka and Alexandre Lacazette struggling.

Aubameyang, too, has not been his usual self and has scored just one goal from open play in the Premier League since the opening-day win at Fulham.

Such is the collective form of the squad, fans have been calling for the inclusion of young players such as Folarin Balogun, Emile Smith Rowe and William Saliba.

But Aubameyang has told Arsenal's young talent to remain patient and warned them of the pressure on their shoulders if they are thrust into the first-team spotlight.

"When you are a young player trying to come through at a club like Arsenal then for sure there's a lot of pressure," he told the matchday program before the loss to Manchester City on Tuesday.

"You have to be patient too because we have great players who are playing in the first team so it's always hard to find your way through.

"I remember when I was playing at AC Milan it was always really, really difficult to get into the first team, so I know that type of feeling."