Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has admitted that he would have no problem benching star forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, but he is not concerned by the striker's recent attitude.
After signing a big-money contract during the summer, Aubameyang has managed just four goals in his 13 appearances in all competitions this season, prompting allegations from some fans that he may have 'switched off' after signing his new deal.
Aubameyang is expected to sit out Arsenal's meeting with Dundalk on Thursday, and Arteta admitted that he would be prepared to continue benching the Gabon international if his form did not improve.
"No one is undroppable," he said (via the club's official website). "At the end of the day, we have to find the right players to win football matches.
“But we cannot forget what Auba has done for this club and what he has done in recent months, not years ago.
“As well, I see how he’s training and how he’s behaving, how much he wants to turn this situation around. When I see that type of hunger, it’s about supporting the player as well as the status he has in the team because of the performances he has provided for this football club.”
Aubameyang has now failed to score in his last four Premier League games, but he was just one of many players to underwhelm in the recent 2-0 loss to rivals Tottenham Hotspur, which left the Gunners down in 15th in the table.
“Listen, today and this week, the response that I’ve seen from the players and the reaction I saw from the players after the match [against Spurs], I cannot be any prouder," Arteta added. "Because I know how difficult it is for everybody at the moment.
“After losing a derby you can be completely down and I saw a completely different team, a team that wants to fight, that has a big belief in what they are trying to do and they want to push themselves and push each other harder and harder.
“Auba was one of the main guys there and today he was walking around the place with an energy that wouldn’t be associated to a team or a player that is suffering at the moment and that is for me the way we have to approach it.”