Sunday, August 18, 2019

What next for Aubameyang? How prolific Arsenal forwards have fared after 50 PL games

SoccerNews in English Premier League 11 Aug 2019

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Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang marked his 50th Premier League appearance with a neatly taken winner in Arsenal’s 1-0 victory at Newcastle United on Sunday.

Last season’s joint Golden Boot winner peeled away from Jamaal Lascelles in the second half and poked past Martin Dubravka to open his account for the campaign and secure Unai Emery’s men three valuable away points.

It was the Gabon international’s 33rd goal in the competition, his strike rate superior to each of the Arsenal forwards who reached a half-century of appearances before him.

As he moves into his second full season at the club, the 30-year-old might begin to set his sights on challenging the all-time tallies.

Here are the three men to have gone closest to his scoring return after 50 Premier League games for the Gunners, and how they fared in subsequent years.

Thierry Henry: 30 goals from first 50 appearances

Henry moved through the gears after settling quickly into London life following his move from Juventus in 1999.

Converted into a central striker by Arsene Wenger, the former winger notched 17 goals in each of his first two Premier League campaigns.

In the five seasons that followed, he never failed to score fewer than 24.

Henry left as a legend when he joined Barcelona in 2007 and returned to a hero’s welcome for a short-lived swansong in 2012, adding one last strike – a winner against Sunderland – to his final Premier League tally of 175 goals.

No one has come close to that haul in an Arsenal shirt, and only four individuals have scored more in the competition.

After 50-match milestone: 145 goals from 208 appearances

Ian Wright: 24 goals from first 50 appearances

Before the elegant Henry arrived, supreme poacher Wright commanded the adoration of Highbury.

The diminutive Londoner made an immediate impression after moving across town from Crystal Palace for a club-record fee, scoring 24 times in the old First Division and contributing almost a goal every other game throughout his first 50 outings in the Premier League.

That rate improved as he aged: Wright netted 89 more for the Gunners before signing off with a first Premier League winners’ medal in 1998.

His frequency in front of goal had started to slow by then, but the legacy will last.

After 50-match milestone: 89 goals from 163 appearances

Alexis Sanchez: 22 goals from 50 appearances

It is not all titles, statues and ambassadorial roles for former Arsenal forwards.

Sanchez arrived as a statement signing from Barcelona in 2014 and was an all-action, free-scoring breath of fresh air at a stale Emirates Stadium.

He reached 50 matches in his second season, scoring 20 goals along the way, and accelerated in a 24-goal third term.

But the Chile international would be gone midway through the fourth, moving to Manchester United in an ill-fated swap deal with Henrikh Mkhitaryan that has paid little in the way of dividends for either club.

The three Premier League goals he has scored for the Red Devils serve as a cautionary tale for Aubameyang.

After 50-match milestone: 38 goals from 72 appearances

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