Mikel Arteta provided yet another positive update on the future of a new Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang contract at Arsenal, while Frank Lampard discussed the growing Chelsea injury list.
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In his first season in charge, Arteta has led Arsenal to a 14th FA Cup trophy in their history and Aubameyang scored twice in the semifinal win against Manchester City and the final against Chelsea as the Gunners showed intelligence, grit and class to secure a comeback win at Wembley against their London rivals.
Asked after the game by the BBC for an update on the Aubameyang contract situation, here is what Arteta said about the man he made captain and who hoisted the FA Cup trophy for Arsenal, after initially dropping it.
“I want to build the squad around him,” Arteta said. “He is loved by everyone at the club.”
The Arsenal manager was then asked if he believes Aubameyang will sign a new contract: “I believe so, yes.”
This confidence has been Arteta’s feeling for some time and talks have been ongoing between Arsenal and Aubameyang for months, as he’s out of contract next July 1. Aubameyang wouldn’t answer any questions about his future after the game but with the Gunners in the Europa League next season, that could make a difference in terms of the finances available for his contract.
Aubameyang is 31 and will have big clubs across Europe chasing him and his 27 goals in all competitions this season, for a very poor Arsenal side especially in the first half of the season, shows just how good he is.
As for Chelsea, Frank Lampard was very disappointed with the way his team played after going 1-0 up early on thanks to a fine goal from Christian Pulisic. Then things unraveled quickly.
Captain Cesar Azpilicueta gave away a penalty kick then came off with a hamstring injury in the first half, while Pulisic went off with a bad looking hamstring injury at the start of the second half.
Lampard admitted the strain of a long season played its toll on his side and said that Pulisic and Azpilicueta would both be out of the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 second leg clash at Bayern Munich next Saturday.
“It has been putting pressure on all teams because Christian does his [hamstring], Azpi does his, Willian can’t play the game with his injuries. N’Golo Kante isn’t fit enough, otherwise I would have brought him in. Ruben Loftus-Cheek, injured with Achilles problems. There’s a lot of stress on the players. That has conspired against us, a bit. Most teams will probably complain about that but it all came in one lump for us today,” Lampard said.
Pedro, who came on as a sub for Pulisic, also suffered a serious shoulder injury late on and it just wasn’t Chelsea’s day at Wembley after such a bright start.
Lampard added that he was “disappointed with the performance” and “more upset in a general way and it wasn’t enough” to win a final as Arsenal won the FA Cup once again and Chelsea’s young side were left with a feeling of what if.