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11-Jun-2020, 05:50 pm

Arteta reveals Aubameyang called him to request Arsenal stars be allowed to show support for Black Lives Matter

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Arsenal 2019-20

Mikel Arteta has revealed that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang called him to request a show of solidarity for the Black Lives Matter movement.

The Gunners squad warmed up for their behind-closed-doors friendly with Brentford on Wednesday wearing T-shirts in support ofthe widespread protests which have swept the world since the death of George Floyd in US police custody last month.

Teenage winger Bukayo Saka wore a shirt which stated: 'My skin is not a crime', while Kieran Tierney wore a T-shirt with the words: "I can't breathe”, the same words uttered by Floyd while he was being held on the floor by police before he died.

Hector Bellerin had the message: "I'm not black but I stand with you" on the front of his T-shirt.

After finishing the warm up ahead of Wednesday’s game, all of the players and Arteta then took a knee on the Emirates pitch for a picture.

And speaking to Sky Sports, Arsenal’s head coach said Aubameyang rang him in the build-up to the match to ask if he and his team-mates could do something to show their support for Black Lives Matters.

“The thing that I like most is that it came from them,” revealed Arteta. “I got a phone call from the captain asking to do that.

“I spoke with the club straight away and we were very clear that we wanted to support their intentions, everyone collaborated, we created the shirt.

“It was a really strong message and it is more powerful because it comes from them. They think they have to support these types of causes.”

Arsenal, who restart their Premier League campaign with a game at Manchester City on Wednesday, went on to lose the friendly against Championship side Brentford 3-2.

The Gunners were twice ahead through goals from Joe Willock and Alexandre Lacazette, but slack defending saw them concede twice in the final 20 minutes as they slipped to a 3-2 defeat.

The loss followed on from a 6-0 win against Charlton Athletic on Saturday.

“We are trying different things,” Arteta explained. “We are trying to give minutes in the legs to all the players.

“We have had to change a lot of players through the games. We are getting adapted to playing in an empty stadium as well and losing that energy from the fans.

“It was good, we played two friendlies and we are getting the rhythm, we haven't played for a while. We tried to make it as close as possible to a real game.”

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