Hasenhuttl aware of Aubameyang’s threat

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Ralph Hasenhuttl wants Southampton to cut off the supply line to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as he attempts to avoid further suffering at the hands of the Arsenal striker.

Former Borussia Dortmund player Aubameyang scored six Bundesliga goals against teams managed by Hasenhuttl when the pair worked in Germany.

Saints boss Hasenhuttl must once again try to shackle the prolific Gabon international when he takes charge of his first match at St Mary’s on Sunday.

And the Austrian fears his struggling side may be in for a testing afternoon against Unai Emery’s in-form Gunners.

“He has a lot of qualities and therefore we have to work as a team,” Hasenhuttl said of Aubameyang.

“It will depend how much pressure (we put) on guys that want to pass to him.

“Maybe don’t give too much time to these guys to put the perfect pass then it’s easier to defend his qualities – his speed, his heading in the box.

“That is our goal to defend him and the rest of the team.

“But he doesn’t need a lot of chances to score, as everyone knows.”

Hasenhuttl previously coach Ingolstadt and Leipzig, with Aubameyang – the Premier League’s joint leading scorer with 10 – registering three goals against each during those spells.

Asked if he would be pleased to see the 29-year-old rotated out of Emery’s starting XI this weekend, Hasenhuttl replied: “I wouldn’t be disappointed about that.”

Arsenal travel to the south coast 22 games unbeaten in all competitions

Southampton, meanwhile, sit second bottom of the division and with just one top-flight win at home in the last 12 months.

Hasenhuttl has attempted to appease disillusioned season ticket holders by sending them free beer tokens, while he has wasted little time stamping his authority on his squad, cancelling a scheduled day off on Monday in order to implement his methods.

The 51-year-old, appointed on December 5 following the sacking of Mark Hughes, has also spent time trying to understand his players’ needs and says his office door is always open to them.

“I had this week until now 12 players sitting on my couch for a one-to-one speech with me,” he said.

“By the end of next week I (will have) spoken with every guy eye-to-eye. I wanted to know everything about him, about his history, what he’s thinking.

“The discussion I had with all the players was very interesting for me. You feel exactly how this guy works, what he’s thinking about, what his problems are.

“In this short time, it’s very necessary to know every player and I think it was a good investment from our side and I think they appreciated that.

“In the future, if there are some questions I want them to come to me.

“If they have good arguments that we should do something different, they can come to me and tell me.

“If I have a better one, we do what I want. If they have a very good one we can discuss that.”

Right-back Cedric Soares (calf) and strikers Danny Ings (hamstring) and Shane Long (ankle) are available to face the Gunners, but defenders Ryan Bertrand (back) and Jack Stephens (knee) will be absent.

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