Chelsea’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is “excited” for his Arsenal reunion when the two clubs face off in Sunday’s London derby but manager Graham Potter wanted the narrative to steer away from the striker as his side seeks a morale-boosting victory.
Aubameyang fell out with Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta last season over disciplinary issues. He was first stripped of the captaincy and had his contract terminated ahead of a February move to Barcelona.
The Gabon international, 33, scored 92 times in more than 150 appearances for Arsenal and returned to the Premier League in September, crossing the London divide to sign for Chelsea where he has scored three times in 11 games so far.
“The history makes it an interesting one for Auba. But the past is the past as far as we’re concerned,” Potter told reporters on Friday. “I don’t think we should make it about him.
“He is an important part of the team for us but it takes everybody, not just one person. I understand the interest around him because it’s Arsenal. I think he’s looking forward to the game, excited for it.”
Chelsea earned a much-needed victory in the Champions League in midweek after a slump in their domestic form, having floundered against Brentford and Manchester United and endured a 4-1 humiliation at Potter’s old club Brighton & Hove Albion.
League leaders Arsenal has 31 points after 12 games, 10 more than Chelsea in sixth place.
Arteta’s side, who hammered Nottingham Forest 5-0 at the weekend, have steadily improved their record at Stamford Bridge in recent years and have won on their last two visits to Chelsea.
“Recently, it hasn’t gone so well,” Potter said, with Chelsea having won only one of their last five league meetings with Arsenal.
“It’s a London derby and anything can happen in the game. We want to be positive, play well and get the crowd involved in the game.”
England defender Ben Chilwell will undergo a scan later on Friday to determine the extent of his hamstring injury, Potter said, after pulling up in Wednesday’s 2-1 win over Dinamo Zagreb, putting his World Cup participation in doubt.
“He is going for a scan later this afternoon so we’ll find out how he is then and there will be an update tomorrow,” Potter said. “He feels okay and is aware of the injury. We need to let the swelling settle down, hence the delay of the scan.
“I wouldn’t say I fear the worst but we all saw the nature of the injury and I can’t say it looks positive. But until we get the scan, it’s difficult to say.”
Potter added that goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga is unlikely to feature for Chelsea before the World Cup, while midfielder Mateo Kovacic will be in contention for the Arsenal clash after returning to training on Friday.