Arsenal legend Ray Parlour believes Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang disrespected his teammates by turning up late for the Gunners’ 2-1 victory over Tottenham on Sunday.
The captain was dropped by manager Mikel Arteta due to an unspecified disciplinary issue, which is widely believed to concern his punctuality – or lack of it.
Aubameyang was pictured in north London traffic around middayahead of the north London derby at 4.30pm and watched on from the bench as the Gunners came from behind to beat their north London rivals.
Explaining the decision, manager Arteta said: “He was going to start the game. We had a disciplinary issue, we have drawn the line and we move on.
“We have a process that we have to respect for every game and that’s it.”
Dropping the 31-year-old could’ve easily backfired, given the importance of the fixture and Aubameyang’s status as one of Arsenal’s most crucial players.
However, Parlour was pleased to see Arteta put that aside to send a message to the rest of the squad.
“I totally agree with Mikel Arteta, nobody is bigger than the team,” the former Arsenal midfielder told the Sports Breakfast show.
“I know Aubameyang is a very important player, captain as well, you’ve got to lead by example.
“There’s no excuse for being late. I think Arteta did a really good interview after the game, saying it’s dealt with and Aubameyang is available for Thursday. The matter’s closed.
“That’s what you’ve got to do, it stays in the dressing room.
“Why should Mikel Arteta start opening a can of worms? The public don’t need to know.
“Everyone will be a bit scared now, knowing they can’t be late. If he gets away with it and someone else is late, and they get dropped, then there’s a problem in the dressing room.
“I think it was the right thing to do. It could’ve gone wrong but you’ve stamp your authority and say you can’t do that.
“I think it’s disrespectful to the other players as well.”
It is understood Aubameyang will also receive a fine for his tardiness as it is not the first time.
Former Crystal Palace owner Simon Jordan agreed that Arteta was totally right to punish Aubameyang and leave him out of the north London derby.
Jordan said: “People accept that great talent comes with sometimes flawed character. You look at all these great, mercurial talents like George Best and Alex Higgins.
“To some extent you indulge it, but when it starts to compromise professionalism and starts to set an example for other people, then you’ve got to deal with it.”