Mikel Arteta warns Arsenal stars he will crack down on coronavirus breaches after Aubameyang's lockdown tattoo

MIKEL ARTETA has warned that he is ready to crack down on any Arsenal player who breaks the club’s strict Covid protocols.

Arteta refused to confirm if captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been punished for getting a new tattoo during lockdown.

But the striker has been included in the squad for Thursday's return to Europa League action against Benfica in Rome’s Olympic Stadium.

Arteta said: “We advise every player and make sure they know all the rules and stick to them all the time.

“If someone doesn’t do that he’s obviously going to get found out by us and there are going to be consequences. 

“We have to act immediately but always privately as well. Whatever we do with our players we keep it internally.”

Arteta appeared to suggest that Spanish tattoo artist Alejandro Nicolas Bernal, who posted footage of him applying the needle to Aubameyang on social media, was a part of the player’s support bubble.

He said: “I cannot tell you who every player lives with but it’s true that a lot of the members of our squad have extended families at home.”

Now the onus is on Aubameyang to deliver another winning performance tonight following his hat-trick in Sunday’s 4-2 win against Leeds.

Arteta is still haunted by the memory of last season’s defeat by Olympiacos at the same stage of the Europa League and wants his players to use that disappointment against Benfica.


He said: “The way we got knocked out by Olympiacos was very cruel because the tie was in our hands and then we conceded in the last minute of extra-time.

“Even then Auba still had a massive chance to take us through and the lesson we learned that night was that we have to play every single minute of the competition with high focus.

“That defeat was really tough for us to take because we deserved to go through but it has created the hunger to do more this season and we have to use that to put more passion and commitment into this competition.

“Goal difference is very important at this stage of the competition and we have to keep that in the back of our minds at all times.

The Champions League has been massive for this club for many years but now we are not in it and the best way to get back there is by winning this competition."

“We have to control our emotions to take the game into our territory when the tie is in our hands.

“We’ve been on a really strong run in the Europa League this season and now we have a good opportunity to take another step.

“The Champions League has been massive for this club for many years but now we are not in it and the best way to get back there is by winning this competition.”

Kieran Tierney has returned to the squad after missing Arsenal’s last six games with a knee injury but Thomas Partey is still recovering from a hamstring strain and has not travelled to Rome.

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