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Out of Southampton Clash Pierre Emerick Aubameyang suffers fresh Chelsea blow hours after Graham Potter U-turn



Chelsea face struggling Southampton this weekend, but will once again do so without Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who has been ruthlessly sidelined by manager Graham Potter

Chelsea face struggling Southampton this weekend, but will once again do so without Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who has been ruthlessly sidelined by manager Graham Potter

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been left out of Chelsea’s squad yet again, this time to face Southampton – hours after Graham Potter maintained he was still an “important player”.

The Blues have scored only three goals in their last eight games and have won twice in their last 13 in all competitions. It has led to calls for the Gabon marksman, 33, to be brought back in from the cold after being frozen out by Potter.

Asked about Aubameyang in his Friday press conference, the Blues boss continued his repeated insistence that there is no issue. “Pierre knows the situation but he’s part of the squad,” he said. “He’s an important player.

“He’s worked hard and nothing is set in stone; his attitude has been really good and we will make an assessment going forward.”

But stunned Aubameyang has since been told he will not be in the squad for the Saints game. He became the odd man out soon after Potter replaced Thomas Tuchel last September.

He was axed from Potter’s rejigged Champions League squad last month as space was made to fit in three of Chelsea ’s new signings. But that decision drew surprise when Chelsea have no other experienced orthodox striker.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Chelsea
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is the odd man out at Graham Potter’s Chelsea

Potter said earlier this month: “Pierre is a professional and, of course, I understand he will be disappointed. It was a tough decision, a tough call. We had three coming in and two had to go out.

“He was the one that missed out, he’s done nothing wrong at all. He is just unfortunate and he will be fighting for his place for the rest of the season. He trained today, he trained very well and he’s got the weekend off so we can report on Monday. It’s a free world.”

In addition, Aubameyang was axed in favour of players such as youngster Carney Chukwuemeka, long-term absentees N’Golo Kante and Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech who tried to join Paris Saint-Germain on deadline day. Kante has played just twice this season, both back in August. Pulisic is struggling with a knee injury and last played on January 5.

Graham Potter
Graham Potter said on Friday that the striker remained a part of the squad

Aubameyang was snubbed for his side’s 1-1 draw away at West Ham last weekend, having also been overlooked for the stalemate against Fulham. Chelsea are winless in their last four, scoring just once.

Chelsea have struggled for goals in recent weeks, with a lack of a recognised striker cited as the reason for their profligacy. But Potter insists that while his team are creating chances, their luck could quickly turn.

He added: “I don’t like to use luck as a reason or something to wait for because it’s something you can’t control. Clearly you need that in a game but it’s not for us to think about. The Dortmund game in terms of chances created was a positive for us, we maintain that, that’s the challenge for us. Then the quality of player we have in the final positions, I think we can score.”

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