Tag Archives: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang stripped of Arsenal captaincy

Arsenal have announced that they have stripped Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of the club captaincy following a string of disciplinary breaches.

The striker had been captain since Granit Xhaka was stripped of the role following an on-field bust up with fans in November 2019.

The club have also announced that the Gabon international won’t be available for Wednesday’s fixture against West Ham United as part of his disciplinary action.

Manager Mikel Arteta left Aubameyang out of the squad for the weekend win over Southampton due to disciplinary reasons, but refused to expand on that and after the game wouldn’t give any assurances over the role.

It’s been reported by The Athletic that Aubameyang’s most recent disciplinary breach was his third since Arteta’s arrival, which has been the last straw on the camel’s back.

It’s believed that Aubameyang returned to France to bring his mother to the UK but returned later than originally planned, which meant he then couldn’t train due to UK quarantine rules.

The club deemed this a step too far and he has now been removed from his position as captain.

That surely now will see his future at the club plunged into doubt, with the January transfer window just a couple of weeks away and his first-team place no longer secured.

A new captain is yet to be announced but it would seem logical that the armband will go to Alexandre Lacazette, who currently serves as the vice-captain for the club.

The decision to strip Aubameyang is a big show of faith to Arteta by the club and a message to all the players in the dressing room that he is in charge for the long haul.

Aubameyang is a hugely influential figure in the dressing room so this decision has the potential to back-fire and cause a huge split, but it’s clear that Arteta is the boss.


Arsenal continuing to fail under Mikel Arteta as Everton earn 2-1 victory

Arsenal were well beaten on Monday night by an Everton side that earned their first victory since September thanks to an injury time Demarai Gray goal.

Everton thought they’d taken the lead in the first half thanks to Richarlison, only for VAR to rule it out for offside and Martin Odegaard to score minutes later on the stroke of half-time.

The Gunners were conservative in the second half and Everton’s pressure continued to build, with the Brazilian forward having another goal ruled out for a marginal offside by VAR.

Richarlison finally got himself on the scoresheet with 11 minutes of normal time to go when Gray’s strike from the edge of the box bounced off the crossbar, and the 24-year-old reacted first with a brilliant header over Aaron Ramsdale into the corner.

Arsenal finally stopped time wasting and looked for a goal, but it was Gray’s absolute screamer in the 92nd minute that sealed all three points for the Toffees.

For Arsenal, it was more of the same issues under Mikel Arteta that we’ve see for the last two years. The club had an idea of how they wanted to play but couldn’t execute it to a high level, then crumbled under pressure.

Arteta surprised many by bringing Granit Xhaka back into the team after two months out and despite clearly being tired after around 65 minutes and getting booked, he played the entirety of the game.

Kieran Tierney started the game and was brought off after 65 minutes, with Nuno Tavares coming in and struggling in his cameo performance while the rest of the team didn’t have a good night at all.

Thomas Partey is supposed to be the anchor of the midfield and the metronome with his passing ability, but he is seriously struggling with the pace of the Premier League and he lost 9/14 duels on the night to contribute to Arsenal’s woes.

Arsenal have a decent squad, and while they may be lacking some x-factor in the attacking areas it’s not a big enough deficiency for them to be performing at the low levels that they are doing consistently.

Mikel Arteta, Manager of Arsenal looks on following defeat in the Premier League match between Everton and Arsenal at Goodison Park on December 06,...

He is struggling to get the best out of senior players, with captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang failing to hold down a regular place in the team and looking unhappy, while the young players are having far too much reliance placed upon them in the side.

Ultimately, this side just isn’t very good. They aren’t coached particularly well, they don’t have anyone they can rely on to dig them out of a hole and there isn’t really a silver lining in sight.

Arsenal aren’t good and the sooner the fans and the board realise that, the better for the club.

North London is Red as Mikel Arteta wins two battles with one performance

Arsenal ensured they maintained some local pride for the season thanks to a 2-1 come-from-behind win over Tottenham at the Emirates Stadium, after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was dropped for disciplinary reasons.

Tottenham took the lead in the first half as Erik Lamela, who came on for the injured Heung-Min Son, scored a stunning rabona shot from just inside the box against the run of play after Arsenal had hit the woodwork. The Reds continued to dominate the ball and create all the chances and finally got their reward when on the stroke of half-time Martin Odegaard’s shot deflected in off Toby Alderweireld and past Hugo Lloris.

Mikel Arteta brought on the pace of Nicolas Pepe at half-time for an ineffective Bukayo Saka, and it was the Ivorian who played a pass through to Alexandre Lacazette who sliced his shot but was then brought down by Davinson Sanchez who was trying to block the shot for a penalty. The Frenchman dusted himself off to slot the penalty home and seal all three points for the Gunners.

To further add to Jose Mourinho’s misery Lamela was sent off for a flailing arm in the face of Kieran Tierney, meaning a second yellow card and a suspension for Spurs’ next domestic game against Aston Villa.

Such an important result for Arsenal and Arteta came after the manager revealed in his pre-game interview that captain Aubameyang was scheduled to start the game until he turned up late for the pre-match rituals and thus was punished.

Many questioned the decision to leave out your best and most prolific goalscorer in such an important game, but Lacazette was sharp throughout in his place and led from the front as captain too – scoring the winner.

It showed a great sign of management from Arteta to make that decision, showing that there are no exceptions for the rules – regardless of occasion or player status. He made a point to state that there had been a line drawn under the incident which leads you to believe he will return to the team sooner rather than later, but with The Athletic revealing that this isn’t the first time the player has arrived late you do wonder if there will be lasting effects.

Another battle Arteta won on the day was the tactical and mental battles against Mourinho, who had made a few digs in the build up to the game.

Mourinho opted for an attacking outfit from the start on paper with his side coming into the game in great form, but the actual set up was his usual big-game shaky self. Spurs created next to nothing with 11 men on the pitch and it took a stunning, creative strike from Lamela to do anything.

Arsenal dominated the ball, controlled the game and created a steady amount of chances throughout and were fully deserving of their win. Spurs’ pressure towards the end caused a few shaky moments for the Gunners but they stood tall and came away with all three points.

With Europa League progression looking very likely after their 3-1 away win over Olympiacos in the first leg last week, Arsenal can look towards working their way back up the table. The win keeps them in 10th place in the league but means they’re now just five points behind Tottenham and 10 points behind fourth placed Chelsea with a game in hand.

Europa League last 16 predictions – Olympiacos vs Arsenal

It was close, but Arsenal managed to get into the Europa League last 16 two weeks ago with a big win over Benfica and they will now take on the old rivals Olympiacos for a place in the quarter-finals.

The Gunners drew the first leg with the Portuguese giants 1-1, before beating Benfica in the return leg despite leaving it very late to do so. It took late goals from Kieran Tierney and captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to seal progression for Mikel Arteta’s side and keep their season alive beyond February.

They’ll now take on Greek side Olympiacos for the sixth time in the last six years and they’ll look to exact revenge after they were knocked out of the competition last season by them.

The Gunners’ league form has been shocking this season, with Arteta’s side winning just 11 of their 27 league games so far and finding themselves in 10th place in the table.

Their European campaign has certainly been better for them this season, as they won six out of six in the group stages and then avoided defeat in both legs against Benfica to get here. Arteta’s team selections against Benfica suggest that he is planning on taking this tournament very seriously, going at what many would consider to be full strength in both legs.

If that is to continue here, you would expect them to be too much for Olympiacos but many said that last season too.

Arsenal FC v SL Benfica  - UEFA Europa League Round Of 32 Leg Two : News Photo

The Greek side crashed out of the Champions League at the group stages after five defeats from six games in a group containing runaway Premier League leaders Manchester City. They met Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven in the last 32 round and came away with a 4-2 home win before losing the second leg 2-1 to come away with a 5-4 aggregate win.

Their preferred 4-2-3-1 system is likely to match up with the Gunners as wingers Bruma and Mathieu Valbuena provide the majority of the creativity and spark to the side while former Arsenal target Yann M’Vila sits in midfield to help break up play.

Arsenal will take encouragement from the fact that defensively Olympiacos aren’t the strongest, but they have got it in them. Domestically, they have conceded only 12 goals from 25 league games and been beaten just once to top the table by 16 points ahead of their closest competitors.

Despite that, Arsenal seem to have been able to unlock defences more often that not in Europe and will have confidence as the better team on paper that they can get a result.

They will learn from last year’s games surely and with the fact that winning the competition is their only realistic route into European football next season, they know it’s all or nothing. The extra quality they have on the pitch will be enough to see them progress into the quarter-finals and get their revenge.


Olympiacos 0-1 Arsenal
Arsenal 2-1 Olympiacos
(Arsenal progress 3-1 on aggregate)

Arsenal edge past Benfica to keep season alive beyond February

Arsenal’s season has survived beyond February after two goals in the final 25 minutes saw them come from behind against Benfica to progress into the last 16 of the Europa League.

The Gunners took the lead after a lovely reverse pass from Bukayo Saka found Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who dinked it over the onrushing goalkeeper for his 12th goal of the season. A stunning free-kick from Diego Goncalves equalised just before half-time but the Gunners were in control for much of the game.

In the second half, a long ball from the goalkeeper should have been easily dealt with by Dani Ceballos but the Spaniard inexplicably tried to head the ball back to his keeper from just behind the halfway line, which Rafa Silva cut out before rounding Bernd Leno to put the Eagles ahead. Arsenal fired back just seven minutes later through Kieran Tierney, before Saka crossed for Aubameyang to head home three minutes from the end to seal the comeback win.

It was a big turnaround for the north London club and means that they keep their hopes alive of Champions League football for next season, and also means they have something to play for beyond this month.

Mikel Arteta’s side currently sit in 11th place in the Premier League after a horrid season which has seen them lose more games than they have won currently.

The performance showed signs of great character though, with many online on social media believing that once Benfica took the lead that Arsenal would crumble and crash out of the competition. It’s a sign of the progress they have made under Arteta this season, although it’s still fair to say that he has struggled so far as manager.

On the positive side for the Reds is that going forward they looked half decent once again. Saka got two assists and missed a sitter in the first half, Aubameyang scored twice and had another goal disallowed for a marginal offside which was created by a beautiful pass from loanee Martin Odegaard.

Defensively they looked shaky, with Benfica creating other chances aside from their goals and ultimately the Lisbon club let themselves down by trying to protect the lead far too early instead of just playing their regular game.

Arsenal will now look to push up the table in the Premier League when they take on Leicester City this weekend, who went out of the Europa League after a home defeat to Slavia Prague later on Thursday night.

Judging by Arteta’s team selections against Benfica however, he will be prioritising the Europa League – potentially seeing it as a more realistic path to not only a trophy but also to Champions League football next season.

Without it, Arsenal could have a blank European calendar in total come next season with even a top six position in the league looking a touch too far away for them right now.

Europa League last 32 predictions – Benfica vs Arsenal

It’s not just the Champions League that makes its return this week, the baby brother is back in town too as the Europa League comes back too with the round of 32, including the Champions League drop outs.

One of the stand out ties of the round sees Portuguese giants Benfica paired up with north London side Arsenal in a game that will see two sides expected to get to the latter rounds of the tournament face off with each other.

Both sides have struggled domestically this season and could potentially see the Europa League as their best chance at European football next season, so may take this game extremely seriously which would produce some high quality, entertaining games.

The Lisbon side currently sit in fourth place in the Primera Liga having struggled massively under Jorge Jesus this season, 13 points behind local and fierce rivals Sporting. After inconsistent form earlier in the campaign, the Eagles were struck down by a squad-wide bout of COVID-19 that saw over ten players forced to isolate following positive tests.

It means that they have won just three of their last nine games in all competitions but they’re now nearing full strength once again and will be confident of scoring goals against Arsenal’s inconsistent defence.

The Gunners on the other hand have seen a good run of form come to an end in recent weeks, but bounced back at the weekend with a comfortable 4-2 win over Leeds United. The result saw star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang get his first league hat-trick for the club and make it seven goals in his last ten games for the club following an extended spell without a goal.

While Aubameyang is likely to be rested from the start in these games, with Arteta more inclined to use his large squad and rest key players, the fact they will have that calibre of player available to bring off the bench if needed is a big factor in the tie.

Arsenal have shown that they have the capabilities to defend well when they need to, but they’ve struggled to balance good defending with good attacking for the most part this season. With that said, they should prove too much for the Portuguese side.

The likes of Darwin Nunez, Haris Seferovic, Everton and Rafa Silva have the ability to cause Arsenal problems if they all play but I’m willing to bet that the Benfica manager will opt for a different set up that will hinder his side and Arsenal will be able to come away with progression into the last 16.


Benfica 1-1 Arsenal
Arsenal 3-1 Benfica
(Arsenal progress 4-2 on aggregate)

What’s behind Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s poor form?

Not many fans would have argued with you during the summer off-season if you’d said that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was one of the best strikers in the world.

Two goals in each of the FA Cup semi-final and final fixtures saw Arsenal lift the trophy, with the Gabon international looking keen to extend his stay at the Emirates Stadium.

Since then, he has extended his contract with the club and then proceeded to go through the worst spell of his tenure as a Gunner.

Originally, the blame was put at the feet of where he was playing on the pitch. Mikel Arteta had been using him on the left wing, to cut inside on his right foot and be a goal threat away from the centre of the goal. It had worked at the end of last season, but this year he has struggled to have any sort of impact.

Then the blame was put on Arteta, as Arsenal went through a run of just one win in ten league games. They were struggling to score goals at all, with the burden still on Aubameyang despite his form and yet Arteta still decided to prioritise defensive football.

During this spell, Aubameyang returned to a central striking role but without any real service from behind him his drought in front of goal continued.

Then he picked up a calf injury, Alexandre Lacazette went up front and Arteta drafted in young Emile Smith-Rowe to give some creativity to the side and Arsenal started winning games.

They’ve won four in a row now, including an FA Cup tie against Newcastle that went to extra-time, and Aubameyang has scored just the once – in that extra-time period.

Many also attributed the poor form to the fact that he signed the new contract. The deal was reportedly worth around £350,000 per week, making him one of the highest paid players in the Premier League. It was almost as soon as that deal got confirmed that his form went out of the window.

Both of these Gunners have struggled since signing new contracts

Arsenal fans have accused him of “doing an Ozil”, with the German having done something similar a few years ago. He looked disinterested, unhappy and some even went as far as to say that now that his future was secured long-term on a high wage that he had downed tools.

That seems incredibly harsh for a striker who was scoring at a rate greater than anyone else in the club’s history and was going through the first dip of his time at the club, despite signing three years ago.

While it’s fair to say that he looked a shadow of his usual self, he’s never been the type of player to create something for himself when his team isn’t playing well. More than most top strikers in the world, Aubameyang is very reliant on the service he gets from the rest of his team.

There would have been genuine scope for concern if he just couldn’t finish anymore, but the truth is that he wasn’t getting any chances. He wasn’t missing big chances that were costing Arsenal games, it was more that the team were making him feed off scraps.

That must have been incredibly frustrating for a player like him, who’s overall game and play outside of the penalty area is mediocre at best.

Arteta’s team seems to be a bit more fluid going forward now and with the likes of Smith-Rowe, Bukayo Saka and Lacazette all in good form, Aubameyang will likely start finding the net again sooner rather than later.

He’s still a top poacher, it’s just now a bit more common knowledge that he’s not the best all-round footballer.

Granit Xhaka Red Card Sums Up Arsenal as They Lose at Home to Burnley

Arsenal suffered their fourth consecutive defeat at the Emirates Stadium as they were beaten 1-0 by Burnley, with Granit Xhaka’s red card summing up everything wrong with the club right now.

The Gunners came into the game having not scored from open play in the league since October 17th, and that streak continued as a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang own goal was enough to give the visitors all three points.

The game turned on it’s head when in the 57th minute Xhaka made a foul on the halfway line to prevent a counter attack. When McNeil fired back in fury, the two teams got between them. Xhaka took exception to Ashley Westwood in particular and thrusted his hand around Westwood’s neck which caused a fracas.

The referee initially awarded a yellow card for the Swiss international but upon a VAR review he rescinded the yellow card and awarded a straight red.

It’s the second straight red card in four league games for violent conduct that Arsenal have received, after Nicolas Pepe was sent off for a headbutt against Leeds United last month.

It’s led to criticism of manager Mikel Arteta and discussion about whether or not he can control his players. The question was raised even more later in the game as Mohammed Elneny clashed in the box with James Tarkowski while marking him at a corner, and was lucky not to see red himself when he seemed to raise his hands into the defender’s face.

On top of all the disciplinary issues, Arsenal are struggling badly on the pitch when it comes to scoring goals and defending – you know, the basics of football.

Arsenal have attempted 113 crosses in their last three Premier League games but have failed to find the back of the net in their last two, scoring just two goals in their last eight Premier League games combined.

Captain Aubameyang has now scored as many own goals in the league this season as he has goals from open play for Arsenal, while all attacking players are severely struggling to make any sort of impact.

Plenty of the players aren’t good enough for the level that Arsenal are aspiring to be at, but that isn’t an excuse for the setup and style that Arteta is implementing.

Arteta has tried switching systems, using different players, changing his approach and nothing has worked for him. With his next four Premier League games coming against Southampton, Everton, Manchester City and Chelsea, the former Gunners captain is in big trouble.

Arsenal fans are fed up, the players look fed up and the pundits are fed up. Arteta’s time might be up too.

Mikel Arteta Out of Ideas as Arsenal Well Beaten by Tottenham

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta admitted he didn’t know what to do as the Gunners were well beaten by North London rivals Tottenham on Sunday afternoon.

Spurs’ sparkling duo of Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son exchanged goals and assists with each other, as Jose Mourinho’s side scored two fine counter-attacking goals in the first half in the 2-0 win.

Arsenal controlled possession but created no clear chances throughout the game, as Tottenham controlled the game without the ball in a vintage Mourinho performance.

Following the defeat, Arteta revealed in his post-game interview that he doesn’t know what else to do, with the Gunners making it five games from seven without a goal in the Premier League and four defeats in a row.

The defeat leaves Arsenal in 15th place following 11 games this season, having been beaten six times already in the Premier League. Only the bottom three teams have scored less goals than Arteta’s side and despite moving Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang into a central striking role, the captain is yet to add to his sole open-play goal for the season.

Former Arsenal Women captain Alex Scott was a pundit for Sky Sports during the game and her post-match thoughts really summed up the lack of a plan for Arsenal, with many fans seemingly having had enough of their former captain as manager of the club. Scott said:

I’m still trying to figure out what is Arsenal’s way of playing and style going forward, because when you put up those match stats that, yes we dominated possession but what were we actually doing with it? Were we opening up a Spurs team? No, we were putting crosses into the box but then when you look at the players that Arsenal have, that’s not your styles of players.

When you look at Aubameyang, how many goals has he scored from his head across the 74 goals he’s scored for Arsenal? Three! He’s not your sort of player who’s going to leap over players and try to get on the end of things. So then it basically becomes hopeless balls into the box and you’re just hoping you’re going to get a knockdown.”

Arsenal have six Premier League fixtures left this year including games against Everton, Southampton, Manchester City and Chelsea. In their current form, Arteta’s admission that he’s not sure of what to do in this current spell is surely only likely to spark more bad results and fury from the fans.

Unless there’s a swift upturn in fortunes at the Emirates Stadium, Arteta may not be at the club to see in the new year.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Must Play As Central Striker If Arsenal Want Success

The experiment is over and it has failed. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang should be the central striker and nothing else.

Arsenal crashed to a 3-0 defeat at the Emirates Stadium to Aston Villa on Sunday night, lucky that it wasn’t more thanks to an own goal from Bukayo Saka and a brace from Ollie Watkins.

It was the lack of attacking threat that caught the eye of many Arsenal fans though, rather than any defensive errors. Villa controlled the game for the most part and carved them open defensively but not through any errors, just fantastic attacking play that left the Gunners jealous of their opposition.

Once again, club captain Aubameyang was stuck out on the left channel as manager Mikel Arteta opted to start with Alexandre Lacazette in the centre forward role. The France international missed a huge chance at 1-0 down with a header that fans would have been praying had fallen to their top goalscorer.

It’s an experiment that Arteta tried last season after taking over and it worked for a short period. He scored twice in the FA Cup semi-finals and final and then opened the Premier League season with a screamer this season against Fulham too.

Since then though he has found the net just once more in the Premier League, a penalty against Manchester United and his only other goal in all competitions came as a substitute against Rapid Wien.

As Arsenal continue to struggle going forward and in creating chances, the answer is surely right in front of them – play your best striker as a striker.

Arteta is keen to move to a 433 formation and he has the players in his squad to be able to do so. A midfield trio of Granit Xhaka, Thomas Partey and Dani Ceballos provides a solid defensive base and is also able to progress play. Couple that with a front three of Willian or Nicolas Pepe on the right, Saka on the left and Aubameyang up front and you have a genuine goal threat in all three forward positions too.

You get your best players in their best positions, in a formation that allows them to be more creative and attacking immediately.

The fact it has taken this long for many Arsenal fans to abandon the idea of Aubameyang playing out wide baffles me. He is clearly their best goal threat and with Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah as the only alternatives to that central role, his competition is hardly elite.

Arteta has to find a way to get Aubameyang closer to goal, getting shots off and balancing the side behind him. If Arsenal are to have any sort of success this season, they need to get the best out of their captain and talisman.

End the experiment, Mikel. The results are in and they’re glaringly obvious.