Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has apologised to Arsenal supporters following their Europa League failure, admitting that they have had to endure "such a difficult season".
Arsenal crashed out of the Europa League at the semi-final stage against Villarreal on Thursday, losing the tie 2-1 on aggregate after being held to a 0-0 draw in the second leg at Emirates Stadium.
Aubameyang says the whole Gunners squad were desperate to salvage a trophy from a miserable 2020-21 campaign, but also admits that they fell short of the required standard to reach the final.
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What's been said?
Aubameyang lamented Arsenal's bad luck after he struck the woodwork twice against Villarreal, who will face Manchester United in the showpiece event on May 26.
"We struggled to find our rhythm in the first half and didn’t give Villarreal enough problems," Aubameyang wrote in the Gunners' official matchday programme ahead of a Premier League meeting with West Brom on Sunday.
"And when we had a chance, the luck wasn’t there for us, when I hit the post with the volley and then the header in the second half.
"I thought we started the second half with more energy and put them under pressure, but we just couldn’t maintain that drive and ultimately, we just didn’t find a way through Villarreal.
"I thought my header was in when it hit the post but it just wasn’t going to happen. Like I said, we are really upset about going out of the competition at this stage, for ourselves, for the club and most of all for you the supporters.
"It’s been such a difficult season for fans and we desperately wanted to give you something positive this season – I’m just so sorry we couldn’t do it for you."
Arsenal's nightmare first full season under Mikel Arteta
Arteta won the favour of Arsenal fans across north London after delivering FA Cup and Community Shield glory during his first eight months at the helm, but he has been unable to build on that platform this term.
The Gunners have slipped to 10th in the Premier League standings with only four matches remaining, and they were also dumped out of the Carabao Cup by Manchester City in the quarter-finals before losing their grip on the FA Cup via a fourth-round defeat to Southampton.
The Europa League represented their last hope of qualifying for the Champions League, but after losing to Villarreal, they are now in danger of dropping out of all continental competition for the first time in 25 years.
Aubameyang's record in 2020-21
Arsenal's dismal form has coincided with Aubameyang's fall from grace, with the previously prolific frontman having seemingly lost his killer touch in front of goal over the past nine months.
The 31-year-old has only scored 15 goals in 36 games across all competitions to date, 14 less than he managed after eight more games in 2019-20.