Gabon will be without Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for Tuesday’s meeting with Egypt, although a reason has yet to be disclosed by the striker’s country or club.
A near-permanent starter when fit, Aubameyang netted Gabon’s winning goal against Libya last week and was expected to keep his spot in the squad to face Egypt.
However, that hasn’t happened. The Gabon FA confirmed on Twitter that Aubameyang wasn’t part of the squad, but there was no reason given.
Local Gabon outlet L’Union state that Aubameyang actually travelled with the squad for the game, only to hop on a private flight back to London before the game.
There have been suggestions that Arsenal had an agreement with Gabon to bring Aubameyang back early, but others have claimed that Aubameyang is injured – including international team-mate Bruno Ecuele Manga.
The Dijon defender told OnTime Sports that Aubameyang has picked up a problem and was therefore unable to play in Tuesday’s game, but neither Gabon nor Arsenal have actually backed that up at this point.
Aubameyang completed 90 minutes last time out against Libya and did not appear to be carrying an injury, so there’s a chance that he could be sent home as a precaution.
Arsenal will travel to Anfield to face Liverpool on Saturday, with Mikel Arteta’s men looking to leapfrog their opponents into fourth in the Premier League standings with a victory.
The boss will be keen to ensure Aubameyang – the team’s top scorer – is healthy for that one, particularly given losing a striker could force a switch away from the 4-4-2 formation that has been so successful for the Gunners in recent weeks.
Alexandre Lacazette remains fit, but outside of him, Arteta’s only other options in attack are young duo Eddie Nketiah and Folarin Balogun, while Brazilian Gabriel Martinelli could be played centrally if needed.