Arteta won't rush Aubameyang back to Arsenal starting XI despite Villarreal cameo

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Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is in no hurry to bring Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang back into his starting line-up, as the forward continues his recovery from illness. 

Aubameyang was hospitalised with a bout of malaria he picked up while on international duty with Gabon and missed almost a month of action. 

But the Gunners were encouraged to see him retake the pitch on Thursday as he played the final minutes of their Europa League reverse at the hands of Villarreal.

What was said?

"He hasn’t trained much, he is still not at the level in his physique that he should be to start," Arteta explained to reporters when asked about his star forward.

"We will see again tomorrow how he is. Yesterday he could only play a few minutes but we managed to get him on the pitch, which is great news for us."

Back to business 

Arsenal, who went down 2-1 to Villarreal in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final, have less than 72 hours rest before they retake the pitch against Newcastle United in the Premier League. 

Arteta admitted he may need to rotate his ranks to avoid fatigue, although a win on Sunday is vital to keep their hopes of breaking into the top six alive.

"Let’s see who is available," the manager added.

"We had a really demanding game again, the boys have had so many minutes so we will assess them tomorrow in the training session and see how everyone is, and try to get the line-up right.

"The Premier League is the competition where it is not in our hands to achieve what we wanted to do, because there are other teams in front of us.

"The only thing we can control is our performances and results and this is our main focus. Then we know that the semi-final is the crucial moment of the season."

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