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Arsenal v Southampton - Premier League
Mikel Arteta was delighted to see his side win without Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on Wednesday (Picture: Getty Images)

Mikel Arteta has left the door open for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to return to the Arsenal squad as soon as this weekend, although he was not keen to be drawn on the matter.

The forward was stripped of the Arsenal captaincy earlier this week and the Gunners shone in his absence on Wednesday night, beating West Ham 2-0 at the Emirates through goals from Gabriel Martinelli and Emile Smith Rowe.

When the club announced that the 32-year-old was being removed as captain he was also taken out of contention for the clash with the Hammers, but that was all.

Arteta did not want to discuss the topic after the match on Wednesday, but did confirm that Aubameyang was only unavailable for selection for one match and therefore could return to the fold on Saturday at Leeds.

‘He was ineligible for this game, that’s it, and this game is gone now,’ Arteta told BT Sport.

Asked whether he will be involved at the weekend, Arteta added: ‘We will discuss that in the near future.’

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will hope to be back in action as soon as possible (Picture: PA)

Even if Arteta decides to bring Aubameyang back into the squad at Elland Road, he is unlikely to go straight back into the starting XI after a great performance from the Gunners against the Hammers.

Alexandre Lacazette captained the side and started up front, with Bukayo Saka, Martin Odegaard and Gabriel Martinelli behind him and Smith Rowe coming off the bench to score the second.

Arteta was pleased that his side showed focus and commitment amid the distractions of the Aubameyang situation and was clearly impressed with their quality as well.

‘They were fully focused and they wanted to show how strong we are as a team,’ he said.

‘The performance and the attitude and commitment that they showed today showed where we are as a club.

‘We have a leadership group, I expect them, but I expect from every player to stick to our values and do what they have to do.

‘They then have to enjoy themselves, because enjoyment is a big part of that. Play with a passion and that’s it, nothing else.’

MORE : Five things we learned as Arsenal thrive without Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in win over West Ham

MORE : Arsenal put distractions aside and go fourth with impressive win over West Ham

For more stories like this, check our sport page.

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Source: Metro Sport

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