SYSTEM ERROR: AUBAMEYANG'S POOR FORM DOWN TO ARTETA
Pierre Emerick Aubameyang has been Arsenal’s talisman since he signed in 2018. His goal scoring record for the Gunners has been beyond impressive, scoring 57 goals in 98 games.
His start to the season has not been as joyful as fans and the team would’ve hoped. The striker has struggled thus far, having a goal drought this season. He scored his first goal since signing a new contract three months ago, in a 1-1 draw against Southampton.
Although Aubameyang is aging, currently in the latter stages of his career at age 31, the drop in form he’s experiencing is too drastic and instant to blame on age. He’s intelligent, his style of play and game has adapted as he’s aged. Although, his style of play also changed when he moved from playing in the Bundesliga with Borussia Dortmund to playing in the Premier League with Arsenal.
However, the dip in form isn’t all down to Aubameyang’s personal form. Arsenal’s attacking threat has been dire all season, ranking 17th in goals scored (11). Arsenal manager, Mikel Arteta, has used various methods to try increase the Gunners attacking threat, his most recent being crossing. Arsenal are third highest for crosses made this season, with 225 in total. Against Tottenham Hotspur alone, they made 44. Arteta has insisted that Aubameyang is the correct player for the system, so lack of confidence may not be the thing holding Aubameyang back.
There is no argument that Arteta has changed Aubameyang’s style of play. He’s been moved to the left-wing and asked to do more defensive work. Arteta has been stoic in what he wants, which has meant Arsenal have become more defensively sound. However, the shape and solidity has taken away the vehement style that the Gabonese striker once thrived off. It seems unreasonable to ask an aging striker, with proven, goal-scoring pedigree, to change his entire style of play and shunt him out onto the left-wing.
There seems to be a clear solution to curing the goal drought: putting Aubameyang back in his preferred striker position and requiring him to do less defensive work. The question is, will Arteta undo his philosophy and work so far to accommodate him?