Arsenal star Aubameyang claims he lost more than half a stone battling malaria and admits his family were 'scared'

PIERRE-EMERICK AUBAMEYANG has taken responsibility for Arsenal’s miserable season and admits he has fallen short of expectations.

Now the remorseful Gunners skipper, 31, wants to make amends by lifting the Europa League trophy in Gdansk at the end of the month.

Aubameyang is desperate to make an impact tonight as Arsenal look to overturn a 2-1 deficit from the first leg of their semi-final against Unai Emery’s Villarreal.

And he has declared himself available in spite of still feeling the after-effects of malaria which saw him lose over half a stone last month.

Aubameyang said: “This has been my most difficult season for a few years because I’ve had some issues on and off the pitch and it’s been really tough.

“I know that everyone was expecting me to score more goals so maybe I feel a bit responsible for the situation that we are in right now.

“The criticism hurts but you have to accept it because people were waiting for me when you have done what I have done in the last few years.

“But now we have this opportunity to change our season so maybe this is the biggest game of my Arsenal career so far.”

Aubameyang signed a lucrative new deal with Arsenal last summer but has managed just 15 goals in all competitions so far this season, which is well down on his usual return.

His problems started when his mother, Margarita, was taken ill in January and the player was given compassionate leave by Arsenal to spend time with her in France.

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The striker said: “It was a really nice thing from the club to let me go see my mum when I had this issue with her and she’s so much better now, thank you for asking.

“I am used to seeing my family quite often and they regularly come to the stadium when we are playing at home, so this year has been very difficult for me.

“I want to see people back at the games because I’m a player that likes these kind of emotions and I wish for every player to be close to their family again.”

Aubameyang was then dropped by manager Mikel Arteta for reporting late for the North London derby before contracting malaria while on international duty with Gabon just over a month ago.

He said: “Of course I regret what happened with the derby, but I can’t do anything about the past so I am just looking forward to ending the season well.

“Physically, I would say I am 90 per cent recovered from the malaria although I am more than 100 per cent in my mind.

“At first I thought I was just tired after travelling back from Gabon, but then I started feeling very bad and it was the worst sickness of my life."

Aubameyang continued: “It was non-stop for three days and nights and paracetamol was having no effect, so I said to the doctor that I had to go to the hospital because I was too incapacitated to do anything.

“I stayed in hospital for three days and lost four kilograms, so it was a really bad moment.

“You can have big problems if you don’t get the right treatment for malaria quickly but fortunately I had some good doctors and I started to make some improvements.

“But during my time out I had time to think about all of this season and I know that I have to do more.

“I have to give something back to the club and to the fans. They are waiting for something from me and it’s the right moment to show I am capable of doing it.

“In the past I sometimes received criticism about not being involved in these big games. 

“So I am really motivated to show people what I can do.”

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