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Mikel Arteta backs Arsenal's leadership group following decision to strip Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of captaincy

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was stripped of Arsenal captaincy on Tuesday; Mikel Arteta: "That's why you have a leadership group... they have to be used to be taking that responsibility and leadership"; Arsenal travel to Leeds on Saturday, live on Sky Sports Premier League; kick-off 5.30pm.

PA - Mikel Arteta
Image: Mikel Arteta is confident Arsenal's leadership group can help fill the void after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was stripped of the captaincy

Mikel Arteta has expressed confidence in the strength of Arsenal's leadership group following his decision to strip Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of the club captaincy.

The 32-year-old had the captain's armband taken off him by manager Arteta on December 14 for a breach of the club's disciplinary rules.

He missed the victories over Southampton and West Ham and will again be absent when Arsenal face Leeds on Saturday live on Sky Sports, but Arteta believes his squad are more than ready to step up and lead.

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"We have other captains and there is a list of captains for a reason because a player maybe starts not to play, a player gets injured, and then the other players have to take that responsibility," Arteta told Sky Sports News.

"In order to do that, you don't want that to happen overnight.

"That's why you have a leadership group because they are constantly making decisions, they are constantly communicating with myself, the coaching staff and the club in many other aspects, and they have to be used to be taking that responsibility and leadership."

Forward Alexandre Lacazette wore the armband during Arsenal's last three matches and could be in line to take on the role full-time.

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Sky Sports News can confirm that, as requested by Arteta, Aubameyang is currently training away from the rest of the Arsenal first team. The Gabon forward is keen to maintain his fitness ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations next month.

Arteta was tight-lipped in his Friday press conference beyond Aubameyang's availability for the Leeds game, giving little away about both the striker's future at Arsenal and any immediate plans to name a permanent captain.

However, while the Arsenal boss did strike more of a conciliatory tone with Aubameyang, conceding everyone makes mistakes, he also hinted the club had already shown prior leniency.

Alexandre Lacazette
Image: Alexandre Lacazette has worn the Arsenal captain's armband in recent matches

"Absolutely. I think we all make mistakes. I always believe that everybody has the right intention - even if you have made a mistake," Arteta added.

"You have to understand that probably what for you is a mistake, for someone else is just a normal thing because they come from a different background, or culture, or education, and I am completely open to that - and I think we have shown that on many occasions."

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