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Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang says he’s hopeful of making a speedy recovery from his ‘small’ calf problem and has told supporters to keep a close eye on Miguel Azeez, who could get a chance to impress against Manchester City this evening.
Mikel Arteta is under intense scrutiny after just three wins from ten for the Gunners in all competitions and the north London outfit will be desperate for victory in tonight’s much-anticipated Carabao Cup quarter-final clash versus the holders.
Aubameyang has had an immensely disappointing start to the campaign and a calf injury – which ruled him out of Arsenal’s trip to Everton – was the last thing the striker needed ahead of a busy winter period for the club.
The Gabon international will also miss tonight’s match at the Emirates but there are hopes he could return on Boxing Day when Arteta’s team play host to London rivals Chelsea.
‘It was really tough for me to miss the game on Saturday, and not to be out there with my team-mates,’ Aubameyang told Arsenal’s matchday programme ahead the side’s encounter with City.
‘I have a small problem with my calf but hopefully it won’t take long to recover.
‘So I had to watch the Everton game at home and it was a tough one to take again. I thought we were getting on top in the first half, but it’s always difficult when you concede a goal just before half-time.
‘We kept attacking in the second half though and with a bit more luck, one or two of our chances could have gone in. David Luiz hit the bar and Bukayo [Saka] had a shot saved right at the end.
‘But we have to accept it, we have to take the defeat and pick ourselves up as soon as we can. ‘It was even more frustrating because we went into the game after battling well with ten men against Southampton a few days earlier.’
Aubameyang feels a win could be enough to turn Arsenal’s form around and singled out Folarin Balogun’s performances in the Europa League as a reason to be cheerful.
‘For the moment, the most important thing to do is win games and get points. We are thinking about the cup tonight and in this competition in the past we have often seen young players get a chance,’ the Arsenal skipper continued.
‘And with the Europe League as well this season, there have been maybe more opportunities for the young guys to get minutes.
‘I’ve spoken before about how talented I think Flo Balogun is, so I’m not even surprised to see him scoring in the Europa League as he has been doing. I’m so happy for him because when you’re young, your dream is first of all to play with the first-team.
‘Once you have done that you want to start scoring and he has already done that in a Europa League game. ‘It’s always something special when you get your first goal with a professional team. I’m really happy for him and hopefully he’s going to score more goals for the club.’
Aubameyang believes 18-year-old midfielder Miguel Azeez could be the next player to make an impression in Arsenal’s first-team.
‘We saw a few more young players in our last European game and we also have them joining with training quite a lot lately and one player who I think looks really good is Miguel Azeez,’ he went on.
‘Miguel is going to be a great player in the future. He’s really calm and mature so I’m sure he’s got what you need to be a success and have a big career. ‘We know it’s not just about talent at that age.
‘When you are a young player trying to come through at a club like Arsenal then sure there’s a lot of pressure.
‘You have to be patient too because we have great players who are playing in the first-team and it’s always hard to find your way through.’