Mikel Arteta concedes Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's challenge on Max Meyer in Saturday's 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace "looked nasty" but says there was no intention to cause injury.

The Gabon international received his marching orders in the 67th minute after a VAR review upgraded his initial yellow card to a straight red following his ugly lunge on the Palace midfielder.

Aubameyang had earlier given the Gunners a 12th-minute lead with his 14th Premier League goal of the campaign before Jordan Ayew ensured a share of the spoils with a deflected effort nine minutes into the second half.

Meyer was substituted immediately after the incident, but Arteta insists his player did not intend to injure the German.

"I just watched it and it looked nasty, to be fair," he told a media conference. "Knowing Auba, there's no intention to make such a tackle.

"Hopefully he hasn't been injured and we are sorry for that. The decision was made and we have to accept it."

Despite their numerical disadvantage, Arsenal came close to snatching all three points in the closing stages when Nicolas Pepe fired against the post.

While Arteta was happy with how his side responded to going down to 10 men, he expressed his frustration that Palace were allowed to find their way back into the game.

"I was pleased with how we started the game, with the way we dominated the first half," he added.

"But obviously after the break we knew they were going to push; they had more bodies forward and they put us under pressure more.

"We started to give bad free-kicks away and that's something that we have to avoid. Then we switched off for the goal. We completely switched off and allowed them to put the cross in. We turned and conceded the deflection, and I was very disappointed with that.

"After that, I must say that we reacted really well again after conceding the goal. After Auba's red card, we reacted even better in my opinion."

Palace manager Roy Hodgson agreed with Arteta's assessment that there was no malice in Aubameyang's challenge, but he did question why it took the officials so long to reach their decision.

"I knew it was a bad challenge," he said. "I'm not accusing Aubameyang of trying to injure him but when I saw it, it's no doubt that it's a red card. I was surprised it took so long to make the decision.

“He [Meyer] was upbeat after the game but we will have to wait until Monday to see if he can play in the next game."

Sokratis Papastathopoulos feels Arsenal have been "unlucky" with VAR decisions this season following Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's red card in the 1-1 draw at Crystal Palace.

Gunners striker Aubameyang netted for the 14th time in the Premier League this season before being sent off in the second half, after Palace had equalised through a deflected effort from Jordan Ayew.

Referee Paul Tienery initially cautioned Aubameyang for his challenge on Max Meyer but, following a VAR review of over two minutes, the decision was changed to a dismissal as the Gabon international sunk his studs into the German midfielder’s ankle.

In the reverse fixture, Sokratis had a would-be winner overturned for a foul in the build-up, while Arsenal were also denied a penalty in the 1-0 loss to Sheffield United in October.

"VAR is there to help the referees," Sokratis told BT Sport after the London derby clash at Selhurst Park on Saturday.

"I didn't see the action but we are disappointed this year because we are a little bit unlucky from the VAR, we lost many points.

"It's not against VAR or the referee, just we are unlucky."

Aubameyang's tackle on Meyer was in front of the two benches, with Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta adamant there was no malice from Arsenal's top scorer, who will now miss three top-flight matches.

"It went really quick. I saw that he caught the player," Arteta told BBC Sport.

"Obviously knowing Auba there is no such intention to make such a foul or injure the player but VAR made a decision and we have to accept it."

Palace boss Roy Hodgson was left in no doubt over the eventual outcome.

"It was close to me and I knew it was a bad challenge, there's no question about that," Hodgson said.

"I couldn't really totally judge the severity of it until I came in afterwards and they showed me on the video.

"When you see it on the video, the only thing that is surprising is that it took so long to decide it was a red card. It was one of the most obvious ones you could ever wish to see.

"I don't think Aubameyang went in with the intention of committing that foul. I think it was his enthusiasm, trying to be aggressive, but unfortunately he committed a very, very bad challenge and deserved to be sent off."

Mikel Arteta must prepare for life without the man who has scored 48.2 per cent of Arsenal's Premier League goals following Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's red card on Saturday.

The Gabon international, who netted for the 14th time on Saturday, will miss the Gunners' next three top-flight fixtures having been dismissed following a VAR review for a late challenge on Crystal Palace midfielder Max Meyer.

Only Southampton's Danny Ings has been more pivotal to his team in 2019-20, but how reliant are the rest of the Premier League clubs on their top scorer?

We crunched the numbers after Arsenal's 1-1 draw with Palace to find out.

All stats are prior to the 1500 kick-offs on Saturday:

 

Southampton:  Danny Ings – 13 of 25 goals (52 per cent)

Arsenal: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – 14 of 29 goals (48.2 per cent)

Norwich: Teemu Pukki – 9 of 22 goals  (40.9 per cent)

Manchester United: Marcus Rashford – 12 of 32 goals (37.5 per cent)

Leicester: Jamie Vardy – 17 of 46 goals (36.9 per cent)

Chelsea: Tammy Abraham – 12 of 36 goals (33.3 per cent) ; Everton: Dominic Calvert-Lewin – 8 of 24 goals  (33.3 per cent) ; Burnley: Chris Wood – 8 of 24 goals (33.3 per cent)

Tottenham: Harry Kane – 11 of 36 goals (30.5 per cent)

Crystal Palace: Jordan Ayew : 6 of 20 goals (30 per cent) ; Bournemouth:  Harry Wilson – 6 of 20 goals (30 per cent)

Brighton and Hove Albion: Neal Maupay – 7 of 25 goals (28 per cent)

Wolves: Raul Jimenez – 8 of 30 goals (26.6 per cent)

Newcastle United: Jonjo Shelvey – 5 of 20 goals (25 per cent)

West Ham: Sebastien Haller – 6 of 25 goals (24 per cent)

Watford: Gerard Deulofeu – 4 of 17 goals  (23. 5 per cent)

Liverpool: Sadio Mane - 11 of 49 goals (22.4 per cent)

Aston Villa: Jack Grealish – 6 of 27 goals (22.2 per cent)

Sheffield United: Lys Mousset – 5 of 24 goals (20.8 per cent)

Manchester City: Raheem Sterling – 11 of 56 goals (19.6 per cent)

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored and was sent off as Arsenal played out a 1-1 Premier League draw with Crystal Palace on Saturday.

The Gabon international put Mikel Arteta's side ahead with a typically clinical finish early on before Jordan Ayew secured a point for Roy Hodgson's men nine minutes after the interval.

Palace might feel they should have gone on to seal all three points after a VAR review deemed Aubameyang's challenge on Max Meyer in the 67th minute worthy of a straight red card.

The result leaves Arsenal in 10th position, one point behind the Eagles and eight adrift of fourth-place Chelsea.

Arsenal started with a spring in their step and opened the scoring in the 12th minute, courtesy of a fine team goal.

Mesut Ozil and Alexandre Lacazette combined to find Aubameyang on the edge of the penalty area, with the former Borussia Dortmund man taking a touch away from Martin Kelly before clinically slotting into Vicente Guaita's bottom-left corner.

That lead rarely looked in danger throughout the first half, although Bernd Leno had to be alert to keep out Cheikhou Kouyate's deflected effort shortly before the interval.

The hosts started the second period with renewed verve and pulled level in the 54th minute when Ayew's effort took a wicked deflection off David Luiz and looped over Leno.

Luiz then flashed a header narrowly over the crossbar before Aubameyang received his marching orders.

Referee Paul Tierney deemed the forward's ugly lunge on Meyer worth only a yellow card, but a lengthy VAR review saw the offence upgraded to a straight red.

Both sides came agonisingly close to snatching a win in the closing stages.

Sokratis Papastathopoulos cleared James Tomkins' header off the line, while at the other end Guaita superbly tipped Nicolas Pepe's low drive onto the post before smothering Lacazette's follow-up.


What does it mean? No quick fixes for Arteta

Arsenal looked destined for a third consecutive win across all competitions after Aubameyang's early opener. They failed to take advantage of their first-half dominance, though, and allowed Palace back into the game with some sloppy defending.

Arteta has certainly overseen an improvement during his short spell in charge but the second-half display at Selhurst Park proves he has a long way to go to return them to the upper echelons of English football.


Guaita's heroics preserve a point

The Eagles goalkeeper was a spectator for much of the game but made his mark with a stunning double stop late on. He got the faintest of touches to divert Pepe's low strike onto the upright and showed superb reactions to deny Lacazette from close range.


Aubameyang blots his copybook

Aubameyang went from hero to zero for Arteta's side. He scored his 14th Premier League goal of the campaign with a fine finish before receiving a deserved red card for what was an horrendous challenge.


What's next?

Palace face a daunting trip to Manchester City next Saturday, while the Gunners host Chris Wilder's impressive Sheffield United on the same day.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang emulated an unwanted feat last achieved by his current head coach, Mikel Arteta, when he was sent off in Arsenal's Premier League match at Crystal Palace on Saturday.

After opening the scoring for the Gunners in the first half, Aubameyang was sent off midway through the second period with the score at 1-1. 

A poor tackle from the Arsenal captain on Max Meyer was initially punished by referee Paul Tierney with a yellow card, but a VAR review resulted in Aubameyang being sent off.

As a result, Aubameyang became only the third Arsenal player to score and be dismissed in the same Premier League match and the first since Arteta also saw red at Selhurst Park in October 2013.

 

Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta is not expecting any major signings to be made this month.

With the Gunners having spent in the region of £136million in the previous transfer window on Nicolas Pepe, Kieran Tierney, David Luiz, Gabriel Martinelli and William Saliba, it has been suggested they will not invest heavily in the squad in January.

Tentative reports in Spain have linked them with interest in Edinson Cavani of Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona's Samuel Umtiti, while RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano is also said to be a target.

Arteta suggested last week that Arsenal could look to sign a defender to cover for Calum Chambers, who is expected to miss the rest of the season with a cruciate ligament injury.

However, speaking ahead of Saturday's Premier League trip to Crystal Palace, Arteta says there are unlikely to be many significant arrivals before next season.

"I'm not expecting big things," he told reporters. "I'm expecting big things from the players I have now to get through the season in a more balanced way. We always have to be looking because of some injuries."

Captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's future has been the subject of recent speculation, although the striker insisted before the FA Cup win over Leeds United on Monday that he is fully committed to the club.

"I was very pleased to read those comments," said Arteta. "He knows exactly what I think about him and obviously he's a massive player for us. But at the moment, we're in the middle of the season and we haven't discussed anything further on that at the club.

"My intention is to keep Auba, obviously, because I know that, if we keep Auba with us, we're going to be stronger and closer to winning football matches."

When asked about talks over a possible new contract for Aubameyang, Arteta replied: "I don't know, we haven't discussed that. But I'm confident that he's very happy here because that's what he said in the media."

Arteta secured his first win as Arsenal boss over Manchester United on New Year's Day before Monday's 1-0 defeat of Leeds at Emirates Stadium.

The former Manchester City assistant coach thinks there is already a greater energy within the squad than before his arrival.

"The first thing I wanted to change was the energy around the team and around the club as well," he said. "I think this is slightly better than how it was - or much better, I would say.

"Obviously, the fact that we are winning games helps, and what I'm seeing at the training ground is much more like what I want to see."

Arsenal are 10th in the Premier League table, a point and a place behind Palace, heading into the game at Selhurst Park.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang insists he loves Arsenal and is fully committed to the club amid speculation he wants to leave.

The striker has been linked to sides including Barcelona and Inter as he enters the final 18 months on his Gunners contract.

However, Aubameyang, who has scored 15 goals in all competitions this season, is adamant he wants to help Arsenal return to the top of English football under new head coach Mikel Arteta.

"I really hope that you were proud of us after the [Manchester] United game," Aubameyang wrote in the matchday programme for Monday's FA Cup clash with Leeds United, referring to last weekend's 2-0 Premier League victory over Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side.

"I’m sure you can see what we're trying to do on the pitch, that you can see improvement in our performances and now it has materialised with a deserved win on Wednesday. 

"The atmosphere was exceptional. When you are on the pitch and you feel the crowd roaring after every run, every tackle, every duel and after every chance, it gives you such a boost mentally. The Emirates [Stadium] felt like a fortress. 

"You were our 12th man and I felt like Manchester United could have played for hours and they would have never scored. I really hope it will be like that until the end of the season. All together, we can have a great 2020! We need to be united more than ever.

"I would also like to react to some of the rumours that are going around about me in the media. People like making up stories and they should focus on what's happening on the pitch. They talk too much and it does my head in! 

"I am the Arsenal captain. I love this club. I am committed to it and desperate to bring it back to the top, where it belongs."

Arsenal's win over United was their first under Arteta, who took over the permanent head coach role last month after Unai Emery was sacked in November.

It was also their first victory since a 3-1 defeat of West Ham on December 9.

Mikel Arteta intends to keep Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as Arsenal captain despite the striker being linked with a move away from the club.

Aubameyang was handed the armband when Granit Xhaka was stripped of the role by Arteta's predecessor Unai Emery.

However, with Aubameyang's contract set to expire in 2021 and talks with the club over an extension said to have broken down, the Gabon international is reportedly a target for Real Madrid, Barcelona and Inter.

Aubameyang has told RMC he is "100 per cent" at Arsenal despite the speculation, while Arteta has consistently said he expects to keep hold of the 30-year-old.

"At the moment, I think everything is okay," Arteta told reporters of Arsenal's captaincy situation ahead of Monday's FA Cup tie at home to Leeds United.

"It's not the time for me to change things in place now because I haven't seen the real things to make those decisions.

"But the more stability we generate with our captain – and players in the squad - the more clarity we're going to have to transmit to the fans what we're trying to do."

Xhaka led a captaincy group also featuring Aubameyang and Mesut Ozil, with Arteta offering insight on what he expects from the club's leaders.

"I've been in clubs where we had four or five captains. It's more a leadership group than captains," added the ex-Gunners skipper.

"In the end, one guy wears the armband. After that, the team picks the leaders. When someone talks, they listen - or they're looking at the roof. That's when you see.

"Leadership is related to how a team lives together. Different groups - with different leaders that are not in the best, common interest of the group - is what I want to avoid.

"We have some who are more leaders on the pitch, some more outside the pitch. We want to bring them all together.

"The staff are very important as well. Players don't live alone in the training ground. They're constantly interacting with a lot of the staff. The leadership has to come from a lot of people in the building."

Arsenal beat Manchester United 2-0 at home in their last game to earn Arteta's first win.

Mikel Arteta says he is not thinking about the prospect of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang leaving Arsenal during the January transfer window.

Aubameyang has been linked with Barcelona, Real Madrid and Inter having hit 13 Premier League goals this season, despite the Gunners' poor run of form that lead to Unai Emery's departure.

Responding to rumours about his future, the Arsenal striker this week told RMC: "For now, I'm here. I'm 100 per cent here."

Aubameyang became Arsenal's captain after Granit Xhaka was stripped of the armband by Emery and Arteta is determined to keep the Gabon international, whose contract expires in 2021, at the club.

Asked if Aubameyang could leave in January, Arteta told reporters on Thursday: "I don't even think about that possibility with Auba, I want him here."

Arteta also reiterated his intention to keep Xhaka at Arsenal, with Bundesliga side Hertha Berlin having lined up a deal for the Switzerland international.

"I had a conversation with him and I wanted to understand his feelings, the reason why he was feeling he wasn't in the right place for his career," Arteta said ahead of Arsenal's FA Cup third-round tie against Championship high flyers Leeds United.

"I told him I was ready to support him. I wanted his team-mates to get his back, to help him change his mind because we need him. I've seen him act and train every day and the quality of the player. He can be a really quality player for the club

"From my perspective, I don't want him to leave. I hope [he stays]. I said to the club no. I said to him no. After, in life, I cannot control what happens."

Arteta also indicated Eddie Nketiah will depart on loan for the second half of the campaign after his spell at Leeds was cut short.

"Again, I have to speak with him," Arteta added. "I think the first idea was that he was going to be on loan for the rest of the season. 

"We have to assess the situation again now. At the moment [I don't know] but I will have some answers very soon."

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang insists he is "100 per cent" committed to Arsenal following reports he wanted to leave the club.

English newspaper The Times claimed this week Aubameyang had informed Arsenal of his desire for a close-season transfer to a team capable of challenging for trophies.

Inter and Barcelona have been credited with an interest in the 30-year-old forward, who has scored 15 goals in 25 appearances in all competitions for the Gunners this season.

Aubameyang was asked about his future following Arsenal's 2-0 victory over Manchester United on Wednesday – their first win since Mikel Arteta took over as head coach.

"The English press like to talk a lot. For now, I'm here. I'm here 100 per cent," he said in quotes reported by RMC Sport.

It was claimed in November the Gabon international pulled out of contract talks with Arsenal because he was keen to play Champions League football, which he has been unable to do since joining the Gunners from Borussia Dortmund for £56million in January 2018.

Mikel Arteta tasted victory for the first time since taking charge of Arsenal after Nicolas Pepe's third league goal of the season put his side on course for a 2-0 victory over Manchester United at Emirates Stadium.

Ivory Coast international Pepe capitalised on a nervous start to the game by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side, who lost for only the second time in 10 league games after failing to expose Arsenal's flaws in the way Chelsea had done in a 2-1 win on the same ground three days earlier.

Sokratis Papastathopoulos doubled Arsenal's lead just before half-time and the hosts' improvement was testament to Arteta's impact on a squad that has appeared disjointed for much of this season.

The revived performances of Mesut Ozil and Granit Xhaka in the Gunners' midfield will have particularly pleased the coach, who delivered Arsenal's second victory in 13 gruelling Premier League games that had seen them drop into the bottom half of the table, this result lifting them back up to 10th and offering cause for optimism at the start of 2020.

Marcus Rashford sent a shot dipping into Bernd Leno's arms from 25 yards in the first minute as United showed their threat on the break.

But Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's trickery set Sead Kolasinac free in the United box after just eight minutes and his cross deflected into the path of Pepe, who swept into the net from 12 yards to get the hosts off to an excellent start.

Pepe went agonisingly close to doubling Arsenal's lead seven minutes before half-time when David de Gea's careless clearance fell to him 20 yards out and he curled a shot onto the post with the United goalkeeper flailing.

But Arsenal kept the pressure on an embattled United defence and got their reward when Alexandre Lacazette flicked a corner into a crowd of defenders before it bounced to Sokratis, who lashed it high into the net from close range.

Fred tied his luck with a rising shot from 25 yards 10 minutes into the second half, but Leno claimed it comfortably as United struggled to create the space they needed to trouble Arsenal.

Nemanja Matic did carve out an opportunity with a clever ball into the area a few moments later but substitute Andreas Pereira hit the side-netting with his angled effort.

A foot injury to Kolasinac was the only fly in the ointment for Arsenal, who will hope this victory marks the beginning of a push towards a place in the top six that only recently looked very much beyond them.

 

What does it mean? The end of a long wait at the Emirates

Arsenal's previous home victory in the Premier League came all the way back on October 6, when they beat Bournemouth 1-0, but the way Arteta's men stuck to their task and bettered United all over the pitch will have satisfied fans as much as the result.

Attack the best form of defence for Kolasinac

Kolasinac's surging runs gave United no rest as Arsenal attacked with an extra man throughout the first half, and he kept up his all-action display down the left flank to ensure Ozil always had an option out wide.

Martial goes missing

The service directed towards him was intermittent, but when Anthony Martial did receive the ball in dangerous areas he was too often slow to react and opted to isolate himself in an advanced position rather than dropping deep to help his toiling midfield colleagues.

What's next?

Arsenal are at home again on Monday when Leeds United visit in the FA Cup, following the Red Devils' trip to Wolves in the same competition on Saturday.

Some of Europe's top clubs are already making signings ahead of the January transfer window, but Real Madrid's focus, at least for now, looks to be on securing the services of a current player.

Karim Benzema remains one of Madrid's key men, with 12 goals in 17 LaLiga matches this term.

Los Blancos will reportedly reward the striker's fine form with a contract renewal in the coming months, keeping him at the Santiago Bernabeu for another two seasons.

 

TOP STORY – BENZEMA TO STAY UNTIL 2022

Karim Benzema has agreed to sign a new contract with LaLiga giants Real Madrid, according to Marca.

Benzema's current deal had been set to expire in 2021, but an extension is imminent. The newspaper reports the Frenchman will be rewarded improved terms on a new contract to run until 2022 due to his outstanding form.

With Madrid enjoying a midseason break, they are said to have agreed a deal with Benzema that will be made formal at the end of the campaign.

Benzema's future is apparently a priority for Madrid, with the report suggesting the deal was only capped at an additional year as the player is determined not to outstay his welcome, leaving before his outstanding career wanes.

 

ROUND-UP

Manchester United reportedly have an interest in Benfica star Gedson Fernandes. Sky Sports say the 20-year-old midfielder, who has fallen out of favour with his club, could be available for £34million (€39.8m) following a loan, rather than for a loftier release clause of £102m. United are desperate to bolster their midfield, with Nemanja Matic tipped to join Inter, Milan or Atletico Madrid.

- Staying at Old Trafford and The Suns says United are eyeing £50m-rated Everton striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin after Erling Haaland signed for Bundesliga outfit Borussia Dortmund.

- The Mirror claims Arsenal star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will leave Emirates Stadium at the end of the season in pursuit of silverware. Aubameyang has 18 months remaining on his contract.

Chelsea have made enquiries about the release clause in RB Leipzig striker Timo Werner's contract, says The Telegraph. Werner has been linked to Liverpool, United and Bayern Munich.

- El Desmarque says Everton are leading the race to sign James Rodriguez from Real Madrid. Toffees boss Carlo Ancelotti worked with James during his time at the Santiago Bernabeu.

- Serie A champions Juventus lead the race to sign Dejan Kulusevski, according to Sky Sport Italia and La Gazzetta dello Sport. The 19-year-old, on loan at Parma from Atalanta, has been linked to United, Arsenal, Napoli, Inter and Liverpool. But Juve are reportedly poised to pay Atalanta €40-50m, while allowing Kulusevski to remain on loan at Parma until the end of the season.

- Calciomercato.com reports Jean-Clair Todibo has an offer from Milan. A deal is said to be done for the Barcelona defender - an initial loan, followed by a €20m fee with no buyback option - but he has not yet agreed to the transfer.

- Having already signed Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Milan must move on others in the next month. However, La Gazzetta dello Sport reports the Rossoneri are only interested in selling Ricardo Rodriguez and Suso, rather than accommodating loan deals that would suit Watford and Sevilla, respectively.

Napoli are set to announce the signing of Stanislav Lobotka for an initial €16m, according to Calciomercato.com. The midfielder will leave Celta Vigo and sign a contract with the Partenopei until 2024.

Mikel Arteta vowed to lift Bernd Leno's spirits after the goalkeeper's error cost Arsenal in a 2-1 defeat to Chelsea, and the new Gunners boss also said he hoped Granit Xhaka would stay at the club.

Leno allowed a Mason Mount cross to pass him by before Jorginho scored Chelsea's equaliser at Emirates Stadium, cancelling out Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's opener in a game Arsenal dominated before half-time.

Arsenal collapsed in the closing stages, with Tammy Abraham sliding Chelsea's winner through Leno's legs three minutes from time to ensure Arteta suffered his first defeat since taking charge.

Arteta admitted the defeat would affect Leno's confidence, but called upon his players to look forward to their clash with Manchester United on New Year's Day.

"He will be down, but we have to lift him," Arteta said of Leno. "He's been brilliant for this football club.

"I'm really disappointed with the result, the way we conceded and the timing. I'm pleased with lots of things, but I'm disappointed to lose.

"I thought the structure was good. We need to control those situations but they are really good in transition.

"We have to move on."

The omission of Xhaka from Arteta's starting line-up added weight to speculation linking the Swiss midfielder with a move to Hertha Berlin in January.

Arteta insisted an illness was behind the decision to leave him out, telling reporters: "He started to feel ill after the Bournemouth game.

"I hope he doesn't leave in January."

Mikel Arteta suffered his first defeat in charge of Arsenal after late goals from Jorginho and Tammy Abraham earned Chelsea a dramatic 2-1 victory at Emirates Stadium.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's second goal in as many games put the Gunners ahead and it looked as though Arteta's arrival had rejuvenated the Arsenal midfield as they dominated large spells of Sunday's game.

But a mistake by Bernd Leno allowed Jorginho – arguably fortunate not to have been sent off – to equalise with seven minutes of normal time left on the clock and Frank Lampard's eventful first season in charge of the Blues took another twist when Abraham scored a breakaway winner four minutes later.

The victory is only Chelsea's third in their past eight Premier League matches but relieves the pressure on Lampard, while Arteta has taken just one point from his first two games as Arsenal boss.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has praised the early work done by new Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta, believing the Spaniard is just what the club requires as they move in a "different direction".

Arteta started his reign with a 1-1 draw away at Bournemouth on December 26, with Aubameyang scoring a second-half equaliser to secure a point.

His first home game sees Chelsea visit Emirates Stadium on Sunday, the London derby a key fixture for the Gunners as they look to make up ground and get back involved in the battle to finish in the top four in the Premier League.

In his programme notes, Aubameyang revealed how Arteta has been "very rigorous and demanding" during training sessions as he aims to put his imprint on the team – something you could already see in their performance against Bournemouth.

"He's only been in charge for a few days, but we've seen a big difference already. We needed someone who would come in and shake the whole squad up," Aubameyang wrote.

"We needed someone with new ideas, with a new message and someone who would take us in a different direction. Mikel has brought all of that. We needed a fresh new start and something different and we can feel it already.

"He is very rigorous and demanding on the training pitch. It's all about details with him so he talks a lot, repositions us, explains a lot of little things.

"If you analyse our display against Bournemouth closely, you can see tactically the changes that Mikel made, like the positions of our two full-backs, Mesut [Ozil] and I playing between the lines behind Laca [Alexandre Lacazette], Granit [Xhaka]'s position as well in the build-up play."

Arteta left his role as assistant to Pep Guardiola at Manchester City to return to Arsenal and has quickly lifted spirits within the club, according to Aubameyang.

"His message to the players was clear and well received. It was about attitude and commitment," the Gabon international continued.

"He wants us to be at 200 per cent all the time, to give everything we have and leave it all on the pitch. It's exciting for us because it's so different to everything we have done and experimented with before.

"It is a new dawn and you can feel how positive everyone is at the club about it."

Page 3 of 7
© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.