Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has been accused of being on a ‘power trip’ following his recent decision to strip Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of the captaincy and banish him from first-team training.
The 32-year-old returned to England later than agreed after travelling to France to bring his mother back to his home over the festive period.
Despite turning up for training on time, he touched down in the capital a day later than planned and that was deemed enough for the club to take action.
Alexandre Lacazette has since taken over the armband while they continue to discuss who should be the permanent leader in the dressing room.
When asked at his press conference whether he has stuck to his principles too much, Arteta refuted such allegations: “No, I guarantee you that is not the case.
“I don’t establish my authority by being dictatorial or trying to be ruthless. I just ask for one thing, it’s respect and commitment. That’s all. And if you don’t ask for that at this level, I think I pack my bags and I go somewhere else because that’s the minimum you can ask for.
“To be successful you have to be passionate about something and you want to represent a club of this size with its history, that is the minimum standard you have to bring.
“I am not going to ask anybody to put the ball into the top corner every time they hit it, but I will ask them to do the right things every single day for this club. That is for sure.”
But Agbonlahor disagrees, stating in a recent interview that what Arteta has done to Aubameyang since the incident has been way over the top.
The former Aston Villa player says that had circumstances been different, and Aubameyang had committed a bigger offence, then the Spaniard may be more justified in his actions, but that in this instance the punishment does not fit the crime.
“Arteta has done well as a manager but I think his treatment of players can be a bit too wild for me,” he told Football Insider.
“For the offence Aubameyang has committed I think he’s been overly punished. It’s been overkill. You’d think he’d committed a massive crime.
“Stripped of the captaincy might have been overkill but you understand it. Get someone else in there who is always going to obey the rules and not do anything wrong. Aubameyang was never a captain for me, he’s not captain material. No problems with that.
“Miss a game, ok. It’s a bit harsh but you’re ok with that.
“But then you banish him to train on his own is massive overkill. That’s crazy. It’s like Arteta’s on a power trip. They’ve been winning games so he’s thought ‘Ok, I’m just going to keep him out’.
“It’s too much, to be honest. If he’d been caught having a covid party with 100 people enjoying life, partying and drinking, that’s different, I’d understand. He’s gone to get his mum, for goodness sake, give the guy a break.”