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Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta responds to critics of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s goal record

Mikel Arteta has blamed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s struggles on his side’s attacking positioning.

The 31-year-old striker has scored 22 Premier League goals in each of his two full seasons since joining Arsenal from Borussia Dortmund, but only managed to net twice in seven outings so far this campaign.

Following the 3-0 defeat at home to Aston Villa on Sunday evening, the Spaniard has opened up on how he has been working to try and create more opportunities for his star striker in open play.

“A team function is a collective thing that we have to do more,” Arteta said after the defeat.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has scored once from open play in the Premier League this season
(Image: Getty Images)

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“We certainly are getting in some situations, but the end product is something we have to improve and about the position and his movement and where we can find him.

“Of course we can talk about is this the right or wrong place for him, but when things were working and he was scoring that debate wasn’t there.

“What is certain is that with these numbers, scoring this amount of goals is impossible to fight with the top teams so we have to maintain the numbers that we have defensively in our organisation.

“For sure we have to improve our numbers attacking-wise if we want to be challenging and if you want to be consistent in winning football matches.”

Mikel Arteta is keen to get Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang back among the goals
(Image: Getty Images)

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Asked whether a change of attacking positioning was something he was thinking about, Arteta replied ahead of the international break: “Yes, for sure. We do that every week.

“You know, [look at] how we can get into better positions in the final third, with certain numbers in the positions that have to be occupied all the time.

“The same for how we control the transition…