Saturday, December 4, 2021

A happy Aubameyang leads with his character – Arteta hails Arsenal striker´s impact

SoccerNews in English Premier League 29 Oct 2021

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Mikel Arteta hailed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for leading from the front as the Arsenal captain adapts to a changing role from previous seasons.

Arsenal endured a tough start to the new Premier League term, losing their opening three games before responding with six wins from eight unbeaten games across all competitions.

Aubameyang has been key to their upturn in form, having been involved in five goals in his last six top-flight appearances (four goals, one assist) with the Gunners climbing into 10th.

The forward has operated in a more central role this campaign, as opposed to cutting in from the left flank, and has led the line effectively so far.

Indeed, Aubameyang (four) ranks second at the club for possession won in the final third, only behind Emile Smith-Rowe (nine), while also sitting fifth among club charts for chances created (eight).

Utilised as Arsenal’s spearhead who leads the press, Arteta credited Aubameyang’s willingness to adapt to his new role and praised the 32-year-old’s leadership qualities.

“We had various conversations and obviously where you have a season where as a team we haven’t fulfilled our expectations, and individually we haven’t, we have to find the right reasons why,” Arteta said at Friday’s pre-match news conference.

“How we can change that, how we can improve them, how we can help him to improve certain things that are going to have a huge impact on the team.

“And he’s been so willing to do that from the start. I am so pleased because again, his role is different to one that he had two or three years ago, and now he needs to lead in every sense – and he’s doing that and I’m really happy with him.”

Aubameyang’s finishing seems to have improved as well, given he has outscored his expected goals (3.08) in the Premier League after eight appearances with four strikes to his name.

Arteta also believes his experienced striker is enjoying his new role, which is producing results on and off the pitch.

“I think he is, and I think you can see it on the pitch,” the Arsenal manager responded when asked if Aubameyang was enjoying himself.

“He’s playing with a smile on his face, he’s transmitting energy, passion, willingness – and not only that but outside the pitch as well.

“That’s what I want – a happy Auba leads with his character, and that’s what he’s able to transmit to everybody, and that energy is always positive.”

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