Mikel Arteta has downplayed the criticism that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has received after the striker’s relatively slow (by his high standards) start to the season for Arsenal.
Goal’s Charles Watts asked a wonderful question to the Arsenal gaffer, highlighting the lack of action Aubameyang has had in front of goal in the top-flight League after the star’s Europa League display.
Watts pointed out that the 31-year-old managed half as many shots as he’s had in the Premier League so far this season in his 29-minute outing off the bench against Rapid Wien on Thursday night.
Aubameyang came on in the 61st minute and scored the winner for the Gunners in the 74th, in what should be a massive confidence booster after the captain’s seemingly rough patch in front of goal.
Arteta insisted that the centre-forward needs to get more ‘goalscoring opportunities’ adding that Aubameyang is more successful when he receives the ball ‘around the box’.
Mikel Arteta on the recent criticism that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has faced ahead of Arsenal vs Leicester… pic.twitter.com/qF2UiHcKWT
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“Yeah, he needs to get in more goalscoring opportunities, he needs to get the ball more around the box, to do what he’s able to do.”
“Tonight, obviously is a different game that wasn’t played against some of the big teams that we have already played this season.”
“You look at our fixtures, we’ve already played five games out of seven against top level opposition, it’s the same for him or Aguero (Sergio) – who didn’t have a shot on target as well on the weekend.”
“So it’s not an isolation just on one of our players, but yeah, tonight he looked promising, I asked him before the game to come in and win the game for us and he’s done it, so I am happy.”
Aubameyang hit back at the criticism from some Arsenal fans after the 1-0 defeat to Manchester City with a post on social media.
Arteta also defended Arsenal’s usual talisman by stating that Sergio Aguero endured just as difficult a game when the two sides met last weekend.
As per the Independent, Aubameyang’s new three-year contract is worth around £250,000-a-week, with the striker yet to score since penning the new terms.
It’s obvious that Aubameyang hasn’t been as clinical as he usually is, but some of the criticism has been quite exaggerated.
The Gabon superstar did bag an assist in the narrow win against West Ham, whilst also playing a hand in the goals that came in the victory against Sheffield United.
The defeat to City perhaps showcased a more glaring issue, in that Aubameyang is finding it much harder against top teams so far this season, with a quiet display also coming against Liverpool.
All eyes will be on Aubameyang to get back to his best and make the difference in Sunday night’s clash against Leicester City, which looks bound to have implications on the early stages of the top four race.