Paul Merson has questioned Mikel Arteta’s decision to start Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in Arsenal’s 1-0 win over Brighton on Tuesday.
The Gunners skipper returned to the starting XI after missing the last two through injury, replacing Alexandre Lacazette in the side.
Aubameyang struggled against Brighton, and before the game, Merson felt Arteta missed an opportunity to make a big “statement” by putting the striker on the bench.
“That would have been a massive statement tonight,” Merson said. “If I am the manager, and it doesn’t seem to be all going well there at Arsenal with results recently. What a statement, pick that team [that started v Chelsea], Aubameyang wasn’t ready, they win the game and you [Auba] are sub.
“All the players then start going ‘woah, I like this’. This is the problem. You start losing the players. Lacazette is thinking ‘wait there a minute, Aubameyang is getting another chance’. I know he is a good player but everyone has a dip in form.
“And it [would have been] a statement [to put Aubameyang on the bench] – but, at the moment, if I am a player and I am in the dressing room everyone will be going ‘Oh, this is a joke’. And that’s the way it goes. It doesn’t matter how good you are. It’s all on form. I just thought it’s a bad decision this.”