Arsenal’s players must step up and fill the void left by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang during the next three games.

Arsenal’s players must step up and fill the void left by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang during the next three games.

That is the view of Gunners defender Sokratis, who has backed ‘goal machine’ Alexandre Lacazette to show his quality in the absence of his more prolific strike partner.

Aubameyang will miss Arsenal’s next two league games against Sheffield United and Chelsea, as well as the FA Cup fourth-round tie at Bournemouth, following his sending off against Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Mikel Arteta admitted it will be a ‘massive blow’ to be without the frontman, who has scored 14 of the Gunners’ 29 Premier League goals this season.

Sokratis is well aware of what Arsenal will be missing over the coming weeks, but has challenged his team-mates to prove they can cope without the Gabon international.

“Auba is a very important player for us,” said the centre-back. “He’s the captain of the team.

“But now is the time that other players step up and show quality, they show mentality and they help the team and also the manager to do his work.

“We have to improve, to step up and to show that the year is not finished and that we have to fight for this.”

While Aubameyang has starred once again in front of goal this season, Lacazette has found things a bit more difficult.


The France international, who was voted Arsenal’s player of the year last season, has only scored six goals in the current campaign and has yet to find the net away from home in the league.

Lacazette’s last goal came during the 2-2 Europa League draw in Standard Liege last month, but he did set up Aubameyang’s early strike at Crystal Palace on Saturday and also had a big hand in Reiss Nelson’s winner against Leeds in the FA Cup.

And Sokratis is convinced it’s just a matter of time before the former Lyon man puts an end to his recent drought.

“He’s a machine. A goal machine,” said the defender.

“Laca’s a very good player. In some games, from the outside, you can’t see what he can do.

“Maybe he is struggling a little bit, but we have to see also how the game is and which guy he has behind him.

“Laca on Saturday was against two players every time. When you play the ball to him it’s very difficult [for him] to do the first control because all the defenders are strong.

“I think Laca is coming better and better. I think he is a very good player, a massively important player for us.

“We are with him every time, he is with us and we will show altogether in the future a lot of things.”

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