Chelsea has announced that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will lead the attack in their Premier League encounter with Arsenal on Tuesday night. The 33-year-old Gabonese striker will make his first return to the Emirates Stadium after leaving the Gunners in 2022.
Aubameyang had a successful four-year stint at Arsenal from 2018 to 2022, during which he helped the team lift the FA Cup in 2020, defeating Chelsea in the process. However, a falling out with Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta in the 2021/22 season led to him being stripped of the captaincy and eventually joining Barcelona on a free transfer at the end of the January transfer window. His stay in Spain was short-lived, as he signed for Chelsea a few months later.
Under Chelsea’s caretaker manager, Frank Lampard, Aubameyang will be eager to prove himself after a slow start with the west London club. Since joining the Blues, the forward has scored only three goals in 20 games, leading to his exclusion from the Champions League squad for the knockout stages.
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta, speaking ahead of the match, has urged fans to show gratitude and respect towards their former captain. The Spaniard acknowledged Aubameyang’s contribution to the Gunners, where he scored 92 goals and provided 21 assists in 163 appearances.
Meanwhile, the game will also see former Chelsea midfielder Jorginho start for Arsenal, replacing Thomas Partey. Both teams have announced their starting lineups:
Arsenal XI: Ramsdale; White, Kiwior, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Jorginho, Xhaka, Odegaard; Saka, Jesus, Trossard
Chelsea XI: Kepa; Azpilicueta, Fofana, Silva, Chilwell; Fernandez, Kante, Kovacic; Madueke, Aubameyang, Sterling
Interim Chelsea manager Frank Lampard hinted at the possibility of Aubameyang starting against Arsenal due to his history with the club. The match holds significance for both teams, as Arsenal is looking to keep their Premier League title hopes alive, trailing Manchester City by one point but with a game in hand. Chelsea, on the other hand, will be aiming to make a statement with a win at the Emirates and potentially boost Aubameyang’s form.
In a highly anticipated London derby, all eyes will be on Aubameyang as he faces his former club, with both sides looking for a crucial victory.