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September 2019
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Will Aubameyang’s goals be enough to take Arsenal to the next level?

By Jonny Greene

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang turned this month’s North London derby on its head with a stunning piece of individual brilliance that had Arsenal fans gasping in delight. He latched onto Aaron Ramsey’s square ball and fired an unstoppable 25-yard thunderbolt into the bottom corner with a nonchalant flick of the boot to level the scores just after half-time. The Gunners went on to beat their fierce rivals 4-2, but they might have lost were it not for the world-class Gabonese leading the line. His finish evoked Thierry Henry in his prime and it sparked floods of optimism among Arsenal fans as they saluted their new hero.

Aubameyang receives a £50,000 bonus every time he starts a game and Arsenal go on to win, which is almost double the average salary in the UK. That is pretty strong motivation to fight for the team, and if he manages a combined 25 goals and assists in a season, he nets an extra £300,000. If he maintains his current form, he might well have banked the 300 large before the first signs of spring. He has already banged in 10 goals and claimed three assists in 16 Premier League games (two as a sub) and scored another two in the Europa League.

Since joining in January he has scored 22 goals and provided seven assists, numbers that only PFA Player of the Year Mohamed Salah can rival. They say you get what you pay for, and Aubameyang is certainly justifying his £56 million transfer fee, his £198,000 per week basic wage and the handsome bonus payments. It is refreshing to see Arsenal starting to play the likes of Chelsea, Man City and Man Utd at their own game by forking out extravagant sums for world-class talent. But it is even more refreshing to finally see a dynamic striker with blistering pace wreaking havoc up front for the Gunners.

Everyone talks about Lucas Torreira finally filling a void left by Gilberto Silva a decade ago and rightfully so, as the pocket-sized Uruguayan has been an utter revelation in the Arsenal engine room. But Arsenal have gone just as long without a striker that blends electrifying pace with genuine finishing ability. Since Henry left for Barcelona, the Gunners have never had a striker that truly terrifies the opposition defence by playing on the shoulder of the last man. We have had a couple of good finishers in Robin van Persie and Eduardo Silva, but they lacked pace. We had the pace of Theo Walcott, but the words banjo and barn door often came to mind when he bore down on goal.

After years of suffering through Olivier Giroud’s trials and tribulations, ill-fated experiments with playing Walcott or Alexis Sanchez up top and the on-going horror show that was Marouane Chamakh, not to mention Nicklas Bendtner or Park Chu-Young, Arsenal finally have a world-class striker. Not only that, we have two deadly strikers, as Alexandre Lacazette continues to go from strength to strength. He is not as quick as Aubameyang, but he is also a brilliant finisher and he holds the ball up better, providing another option.

The current competition for places is really healthy, and new manager Unai Emery has proved he is not afraid to drop anyone. Many players were untouchable under Arsene Wenger, but Emery is happy to axe Mesut Ozil or anyone else if they are underperforming. Aubameyang cannot collect his £50,000 bonus if he is sat on the bench, so he has to work hard in training and thrive on the pitch. Emery is still tinkering, and sometimes Lacazette and Aubameyang play up front together, while at others Aubameyang is shunted out to the wing or sits on the bench as Alex Iwobi comes in.

But at the end of the day it is hard to justify leaving Aubameyang out of the team for long, as he is just such a polished striker. He misses chances, but so does every elite forward. He has adapted to the pace of the Premier League quickly and he will be a devastating weapon in the months ahead as Arsenal bid to finish in the top four once again. Can he take Arsenal to the next level with his goals? Absolutely. He is the joint top scorer in the league this season, along with Salah, despite playing fewer minutes than the Egyptian. Aubameyang also has a better goals per minutes ratio than Harry Kane. In the Sporting Index sports spread betting on the Premier League, only Salah and Kane are ahead of him in the Golden Boot Index, but he could easily overtake those two.

Arsenal have long been crying out for a player of Aubameyang’s calibre. They like to move the ball quickly and they create plenty of chances, and someone just needs to gobble them up. Just think what sort of numbers the Gabonese could post if Ozil ever returns to fitness and form and provides him with perfectly weighted through balls all afternoon long.

The next level for Arsenal right now would be finishing in the top four and securing Champions League football once more. After two years in the Europa League wilderness, it is time to return to Europe’s top table and earn the financial windfall that brings. That would bolster the club’s coffers considerably and give Emery and Sven Mislintat the war chest to bring in the sort of players that can have Arsenal challenging for the title again. They might be able to rival Man City and Liverpool this season, but you fear there are too many holes at the back and they need more playmakers in wide areas. Yet Aubameyang has the ability to fire Arsenal back into the Champions League at the expense of Spurs or Chelsea, and he can be the face of this club for the next few seasons as they bid to re-join the elite and Arsenal fans can now dare to dream of glory once again.

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7 comments to Will Aubameyang’s goals be enough to take Arsenal to the next level?

  • Steve Vallins

    Jonny would just like to know how you know the ins and outs of PEA’s contract

  • Nitram

    These betting articles really are a pain, especially when they talk so much nonsense and try to twist reality to suit there agenda and often as not involves a rather unsubtle digs at Wenger at every opportunity.

    The following is just one of his off hand distortion of facts:

    “It is refreshing to see Arsenal starting to play the likes of Chelsea, Man City and Man Utd at their own game by forking out extravagant sums for world-class talent.”

    Utter crap.

    Although of course we have started spending more, we have not spent anything like Man City, Man Utd or Chelsea over the last 3 years.

    Man City:

    From the Telegraph:

    “Pep Guardiola defends £448m outlay on players after Man City break club record with £57m Aymeric LaPorte. City’s net spend is simply on another planet to anyone else.”

    To even suggest we, or anyone else for that matter, are spending anything like City is quite honestly ridiculous.

    Man Utd:

    Despite Mourinho’s moaning they still have a net spend of £285 Million over the last 3 years, paying over £30 Million for 7 players including one for £89 Million and one for £75 Million.

    Chelsea:

    They have a £228 Million Net spend over the last 3 years, spending £30 Million plus on 8 players, including one for £71, one for £60, and one for £57 Million.

    Arsenal:

    On the other hand have a net spend of £142 Million over the last 3 years, spending over £30 Million plus on players just 3 times.

    I obviously don’t expect a reply from the fictional Jonny Greene, but this kind of codswallop cant be left unchallenged.

  • Nitram

    Jammy

    The unfamiliar name. The immaculate paragraphing. Pretty much faultless grammar and spelling. All too regimental.

    I think even Tony would admit that his articles, obviously typed under time pressure, contain numerous typos and other grammatical errors, as do most posters. It’s not an English class after all is it ?

    So it was suspicious enough before I started reading. It took until the 3rd paragraph to confirm my suspicions once he started to claim we were spending money similar to Man City. Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahah. Yeah right.

  • In what way is PEA any more world class than Sanches or RVP?

    That both of those players declined after leaving us is not surprising as that usually happens when players leave.

    Both of those scored plenty of really stunning goals, as did Giroud and, indeed Walcott.

    I really do not like it when someone tries to hype up one person, as=t the expense of others, rather than basing the hype on the achievements of the person being hyped up.

  • Pete

    Just because content may be promotional doesn’t automatically devalue it. I think the author makes some good points here, and it’s all about opinions so we’re never all going to agree.

    Personally I find sponsored content like this far more preferable to the browser crashing Flash ads that takeover the page and prevent you from reading the site. As long as Tony retains editorial control over such content where’s the harm? Web hosting ain’t free!

  • Daud

    I can’t lie I love those subtle digs @wenger though. Lol. We can’t all be “supporters of the Lord Wenger whatever he does”

  • The mickster

    RVP was world class, I remember having a fierce argument with a Man Utd supporter one night that if he stayed fit we’d have another title, he said he wasn’t that good !
    2 months after they signed him, he came up and apologised !
    pea is in that top bracket, with lacca just behind