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Mikel Arteta explains how he chose new Arsenal captain vs West Ham

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The Arsenal manager has chosen another striker as his side’s captain after stripping Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of the armband.

Earlier this weekArsenal removed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from captaincy due to a ‘disciplinary breach’. The decision generated speculations around who will be the next captain at the Emirates Stadium.

With the Gunners playing against West Ham on Wednesday, Arsenal fans were eager to see who would wear the armband. Mikel Arteta selected Alexander Lacazette as his side’s captain in the absence of Aubameyang. However, he insisted he would not make any “rash decisions” on who will take over as the new permanent captain.

Speaking before the game, Arteta told BT Sport: “It’s just to give some continuity to what we did in the last game.

“It was Laca captain so we continue like this.”

He added: “That’s the choice we made at the start of the season with the captaincy order we have in the squad and we’re going to maintain that.”

Arteta excluded Aubameyang from the Arsenal squad for their match against West Ham. When asked for how long the Gabonese will remain out of action, the Spaniard responded: 

 “For now he’s not involved in the squad and I want to focus on the game today,” he responded.

Former Arsenal boss Unai Emery stripped Grant Xhaka of the armband during his spell at the club. The 29-year-old has now emerged as a serious option to (re)claim the armband after Aubameyang.

Asked about the Swiss international’s chances of wearing the Arsenal armband, Arteta responded: “Granit is one of the captains, and he’s part of the leadership group and is a really important player for us.”

Martin Keown: It’s a bold move!

Arsenal legend Martin Keown gave his verdict on the captaincy saga after hearing Arteta’s comments.

“Well it is one hour before what is a really important game,” Keown said.

“I think he’s anxious to put him behind him.

“I do feel as if it was a very bold decision to pull the captaincy from Aubameyang, I do feel it could’ve been left until the end of the season because I just fear for Aubameyang and how we get him back onto the field because he’s going to be an important player at some point.

“You don’t have that sort of quality and just disappear from the group. That’s my biggest concern.

“Obviously there’s an appetite for change and he must be a serially offender in terms of the misdemeanors that have gone on off the field but over the years there have been captains who have offended far more than this with ill-discipline and kept the captaincy because they were leaders of men.

“They don’t feel, clearly, that he’s a true leader.”

Following their game against West Ham, the Gunners will face Leeds United in their next match on Saturday.