Jack Wilshere admits he ‘felt sorry’ for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as Arsenal crashed out of the Europa League to Villarreal on Thursday evening.
After a 2-1 defeat in the first leg in Spain, the Gunners failed to find a way past Unai Emery’s side at the Emirates Stadium and a goalless draw meant that Mikel Arteta’s men were dumped out of the competition.
Aubameyang went closest to putting Arsenal ahead as he hit the post twice, but Arteta replaced him with Alexandre Lacazette with 10 minutes to go as the Gunners pushed for the winning goal.
‘I felt a bit sorry for Aubameyang last night because he didn’t have much service,’ WIlshere told talkSPORT.
‘He did look the most dangerous when they were in the final third.
‘I’m sure he’ll be frustrated, he looked frustrated when he came off. Mikel is the manager and he’s the one who’s got to make the decisions. I would’ve put Lacazette on and kept Aubameyang on.
‘It was tough to watch. They just needed that one moment in the game, someone to take the game but unfortunately it didn’t come. It’s disappointing for the fans, I’m an Arsenal fan now, it’ll be hard to not see them in Europe next year.
‘The first leg I thought Villarreal were the better team by far but Arsenal gave themselves a chance going into the home leg where you’d like to think they could at least get a 1-0.
‘One thing I will say is no fans it is a little bit different. But still, you’d expect to see more urgency.’
Wilshere also dismissed the idea that Arsenal’s squad is not good enough to be higher up in the Premier League and to be reaching cup finals.
‘They are good players,’ said the former Arsenal midfielder.
‘You look at Thomas Partey who’s a top, top player. I played against him in the semi-final of the Europa League three years ago and he was the toughest I played against.
‘I think the recruitment is not down to Arteta. He’s the coach, he picks the team, it’s down to him to get the best out of them. I wouldn’t say the recruitment is down to him any more.’
When asked if Arteta is failing to get the best out of Arsenal’s players, Wilshere replied:
‘No, I wouldn’t say that. It’s difficult for me to that not being there any more and being part of it.
‘One thing I know as a player, you try to get the best out of yourself, yes… your manager can inspire you, but you want to put on a good performance because you half your self-pride and if you want to go on in your career and play in Europe you’ve got to put pressure on yourself to perform.’