Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang likely to miss Arsenal's next five matches

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is likely to miss Arsenal’s next five matches after he was given permission to join up with Gabon’s squad ahead of the Gunners’ match with Manchester City on New Year’s Day.

The now former Arsenal captain will represent his country at next month’s Africa Cup of Nations with the Panthers drawn in a group along with Morocco, Ghana and Comoros.

Gabon’s campaign is due to start on January 10 and will conclude a week later on January 18 at the earliest. Should Patrice Neveu’s team make it all the way to the final, meanwhile, then Aubameyang would be unavailable to play for Arsenal until February 10 at the earliest.

Aubameyang was stripped of the armband by Mikel Arteta earlier this month following a breech of discipline and he hasn’t featured in any of his side’s last five matches in all competitions.

Resurgent Arsenal have hardly missed the 32-year-old, however, and are currently in the midst of their best run of goalscoring form since Arteta’s appointment two years ago.

Arsenal have scored 19 times during successive wins over Southampton, West Ham, Leeds, Sunderland and Norwich with Gabriel Martinelli, Martin Odegaard, Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe all in sensational form.

After facing Premier League pacesetters City, Arteta’s improving side are due to play Liverpool in a two-legged Carabao Cup semi-final and begin their FA Cup campaign against Nottingham Forest.

A crucial north London derby at Tottenham is also on the horizon in mid-January, while a home fixture against Burnley on the 22nd would also likely come too early for Aubameyang to be considered for selection should Gabon exit AFCON at the group stage.

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