Wenger hails Aubameyang for Lacazette gesture

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The Gunners boss was pleased by his striker's decision to give up the chance at a hat-trick

Arsene Wenger believes the sportsmanship Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang displayed in giving Alexandre Lacazette Arsenal's late penalty against Stoke City instead of trying to complete his own hat-trick will make the Gunners "stronger".

Arsenal ultimately cruised to a 3-0 Premier League win on Sunday, but it was tight and the hosts looked frustrated before Aubameyang broke the deadlock from the spot in the 75th minute.

The former Borussia Dortmund star then doubled his tally four minutes from time with a fine volley, putting the game beyond Stoke.

He could have added a third at the end when Lacazette was fouled in the area by Badou Ndiaye, but Aubameyang let the Frenchman – who was back after six weeks out with a knee injury – take it in order to boost his morale by scoring a first league goal since early December.

And Wenger believes such gestures are good for the team.

When asked if he was surprised by it, the Arsenal boss replied: "No, because I know they have a good understanding.

"That shows as well the state of our society, that we are surprised. I like that [gesture], it can only make the team stronger."

Although it proved to be a successful return for Lacazette, Wenger thinks he is still a little way off being completely fit.

"He is still lacking a competitive edge a bit, a fraction maybe," added the 68-year-old. "In training he looks sharp. He needs one or two more games."

Wenger was also asked about the number of empty seats at the Emirates Stadium on the day, but he dismissed the importance of that, putting it down to the fact the match was played on Easter Sunday.

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"They [the fans] will be back on Thursday [in the Europa League against CSKA Moscow]," he said.

"It's explainable by the fact it's Easter. It's a family happening and we don't go [compete] for a lot in people's mind in the Premier League.

"Overall in the Premier League in the last few weeks we faced that problem. It's down to the fact we don't play for anything in the Premier League."

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