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Mikel Arteta admits Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is ’emptied’ after treating sick mother

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Mikel Arteta admitted that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was emotionally exhausted after taking care of his ailing mother – but revealed that the Arsenal team have rallied to support their captain.

Aubameyang traveled to France to take care of his mother – who was suffering from health problems – and missed the Gunners’ FA Cup loss to Southampton and the Premier League clashes with the Saints and Manchester United.

He returned to the squad for Arsenal’s loss to Wolves, coming off the bench for the final half hour, and is in the running to return to the starting XI for the trip to Aston Villa on Saturday.

“It was difficult because when you see a member of your family in pain and going through a difficult time, it exhausts you emotionally and you have to be close to them,” Arteta said (via the Daily Mail).

“It was hard. He wants to be here, he wants to train, he doesn’t want to miss football games… he wants to play every minute of every competition.

“So he had the responsibility to be with his family but at the same time he wanted to be here. He was training on his own and I think he handled it really well. ”

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Aubameyang Missed Three Games Due to His Mother’s Illness | Sam Bagnall – AMA / Getty Images

Arsenal squad members and Gunners fans have offered messages of support for Aubameyang on social media, and Arteta says this is a testament to the team’s cohesion and the striker’s popularity within of the club.

“It shows the spirit around the dressing room and how much we care about each other,” added the Arsenal boss. “When the going is tough and you’re far away from this place, you think ‘are they thinking of me? Are they supporting me? And the answer is a big “yes”.

“He is a very appreciated and respected player because of his character and what he has done at the club. He totally deserved this support. “