One goal in four Premier League starts was not what Mikel Arteta, Arsenal fans or Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang himself would have expected at this point of the season.
The 31-year-old has been electric since joining the club in January 2018, scoring 70 goals in 109 games and helping the club to FA Cup glory to close off last season. As well as his goalscoring exploits, the job he has done to help younger players such as Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli settle into the first team cannot be understated.
Heading into this season, Arsenal could not afford to be without him and he was rightly handed a contract extension which will keep him in north London until at least 2023.
With his goal tally still on one, however, there’s no doubting there is room for improvement. That solitary strike came on the opening day at Fulham to finish the Gunners’ signature passage of play from goalkeeper, down the right wing and out to him on the left wing.
Click to play
Tap to play
The video will start in8Cancel
Since then, however, the 31-year-old’s only other goal contribution has been an assist for Alexandre Lacazette against West Ham – he was also influential in the opening goal against Sheffield United. This, however, pinpoints exactly why at the present moment, Arsenal can afford for Aubameyang to have started the season the way he has.
Exceptionally consistent since arriving at the club, the forward [we’ll use that as he’s a striker predominantly playing off the left] has never gone more than four games without a goal. The fact one in four is deemed as disappointing is a testament to just how good he has been since joining the club.
The test that has provided for Arteta, however, in a strange way has been exactly what he may have needed to set the tone for what will be a crucial season. Although Aubameyang starred in the 2019/20 campaign with 29…