Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is an undeniable talent with an eagle’s eye for goal, but in recent months he hasn’t exactly been at the races. His form in the latter part of the season has been in complete contrast to his blistering performances at the start the campaign.
This may have been the effects of a virus or niggling injury, but something hasn’t been right with him for at least a few months. However, he has continued to work for the team and still has managed to add to his goal tally.
For a while now, I have regarded Alexandre Lacazette as the more influential and important of the pair, because of his tireless work rate and endless appetite. It’s easy to give the Frenchman 8 out of 10 on a regular basis for his work ethic alone.
The two have been drafted into the Arsenal squad for the same role and on occasions, one was preferred to the other.
In most cases, the friction caused by those types of managerial decisions would have been a problem, but the two have forged a strong bond. The duo bring something completely different to the role, with Lacazette keen to participate in the build up and create openings as well as convert opportunities.
Aubameyang on the other hand, has lightning speed and can tear down the flank, cut inside or through the middle and appear unannounced in the box, to profit from any available chances, almost in the role of a traditional number 9.
Against Valencia, when it really mattered, Aubameyang came back to his best. In fact, none of the three goals he pilfered were exactly easy, especially the first and it served as a reminder of why Arsene Wenger splashed big money to acquire his services.
So Auba got up and he scored one again… ?
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) May 10, 2019
He had been outshone for the last quarter of the season by his partner and I personally, started to wonder if he’d gone off the boil due to lack of confidence or because the service the pair get, is generally awful.
Unai Emery has made the bold move of playing the pair and although it worked intermittently, I wasn’t sold on it as a long term plan. That changed in the second leg of the semi final of the Europa League, when the two destroyed Valencia with goals straight out of the top drawer, worthy of any world class striker.
The sort that the media do handstands over, if scored by Antoine Griezmann. Unfortunately. I don’t share their fascination for him but, recognise that he is a man who certainly can get important goals.
If any thing, Lacazette is far better in my opinion and Aubameyang brings options that Griezmann hasn’t even dreamt of.
Emery’s priority for next season must be to provide this strike partnership with a decent, steady supply stream. If he manages that, they will score more than their combined total of 49 goals and Arsenal may not find the tail end of the season such a struggle.
Teams have realised, prevent the supply and Arsenal dry up, which has destroyed the Gunners run in for a Champions League finish in the premiership. That’s probably part of the tactics employed by Everton, Crystal Palace, Wolves and Leicester and I’m amazed to think no one at Arsenal has realised that it’s their Achilles heel.
Emery could fair far better in the premiership, if he works out a suitable formation for his strikers and drafts in wingers from the academy or the market place in the transfer window and finds someone to dictate and create, in the Cazorla mould.
Imagine if Bellerin had been available, one could assume that both might have had another 8 to 10 goals between them.
Much of Arsenal emphasis has been on trying to hold the back line together and that has impacted on the team and the performances.
If Emery gets it right, Arsenal could be on the verge of a significant breakthrough.