Arsenal have bleak trend with last 10 captains that Mikel Arteta is under pressure to end

Arsenal strip Aubameyang of captaincy over ‘disciplinary breach’

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Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta must make sure he makes the correct choice over his next captain due to a worrying trend over the last 14 years. The Gunners stripped Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of the captaincy on Monday following the striker’s latest disciplinary breach. 

Aubameyang was dropped from the matchday squad for Arsenal’s 3-0 win over Southampton on Saturday. 

He has now had the armband withdrawn and been told that he will not be selected ahead of the Premier League clash with West Ham on Wednesday.  

Arteta has explained the 32-year-old’s punishment as a disciplinary breach. The Athletic reported at the weekend that Aubameyang had returned home late from a club-sanctioned trip abroad.  

The Spaniard will now need to select a new captain. He was coy in his pre-West Ham press conference and would not reveal who his next skipper would be.  

“Well, we have the leadership group, and we think that we have different players that are nominated to be captain,” Arteta said on Tuesday. 

“In the last game, it was [Alexandre Lacazette], and we have Granit [Xhaka] as well, who has been captain, so we will follow that.”

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He added: “That leadership group is really strong. It is the one that communicates with myself and the coaching staff and with the club in a really clear and strong way. 

“We are going to continue like that, and that is one of the decisions that we made, to make that group a little bit better and try to educate them.” 

Arteta must carefully consider who he wants as his next captain if he wants to buck the club’s concerning trend. Arsenal have had 11 players wear the armband in just 14 years.  

And most of those captaincy terms have ended badly. Aubameyang became the second consecutive player to be removed from the role after Granit Xhaka in November 2019.  

Xhaka responded sarcastically to fan jeers after being booed off as he was substituted against Crystal Palace. Then-boss Unai Emery swiftly replaced him with Aubameyang. 

Before Xhaka was Laurent Koscielny. A largely popular centre-back for most of his spell, he then refused to travel on a pre-season tour to the USA and forced through a move to Bordeaux.  

The Frenchman then upset fans further when Bordeaux released his announcement video, in which the defender took off an Arsenal shirt and threw it to the ground – replacing it with the jersey of his new club.  

There was a little bit of stability before Koscielny was made captain, with Per Mertesacker and Arteta himself both wearing the armband. Both brought their leadership to an end following their respective retirements in 2018 and 2016 respectively.  

Prior to those two was defender Thomas Vermaelen, who suffered with repeated injuries after being given the captaincy in the summer of 2012.  

Vermaelen had taken on the role after former skipper Robin van Persie forced through a move to rivals Manchester United. He then proceeded to win the Premier League in his first season at Old Trafford and scored three goals against Arsenal for the Red Devils. 

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Van Persie’s predecessor, Cesc Fabregas, had his spell as captain ended in similar circumstances. The Spaniard angered supporters after being pictured in a Barcelona shirt in the summer of 2010 and then joined the Catalan club a year later. 

Before Fabregas was William Gallas. Arsene Wenger removed the Frenchman from his role just three months after taking over from Thierry Henry after Gallas publicly criticised his team-mates.  

The former centre-back had also petulantly sat in the other half of the pitch as Birmingham scored a last-minute penalty to equalise against the Gunners.  

Arteta must now choose a captain who does not cause chaos at the Emirates Stadium. Aaron Ramsdale, Ben White and Gabriel are understood to be in the running to replace Aubameyang as skipper.
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