Daily Archives: January 15, 2020

Aubameyang: Can Arsenal Cope Without His Goals?


Aubameyang red card

Aubameyang getting sent off at Selhurst Park

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang received his marching orders in the 1-1 draw against Crystal Palace and this has brought some despair to the Arsenal faithful, as the Gunners depend on their talisman for his goal scoring feats. 

For those that might care to ask: how dependent is Arsenal on Aubameyang?

His WhoScored.com statistics show that he scored 16 goals from 26 appearances this season. The table below gives a more detailed outlook of the importance of his 16 goals so far this season.

1 Newcastle (EPL) 0 – (1) 0 – 1 Match winner 3
2 Burnley (EPL) (2) – 1 2 – 1 Match winner 3
3 Tottenham (EPL) (2) – 2 2 – 2 Equalizer to salvage draw 1
4, 5 Watford (EPL) 0 – (1), 0 – (2) 2 – 2 Goals enough to win game, poor defending turned it into a draw 1
6 Eintracht Frankfurt (Europa) 0 – (3) 0 – 3 Consolation goal 3
7 Aston Villa (EPL) (3) – 2 3 – 2 Match winner 3
8 Manchester United (EPL) 1 – (1) 1 – 1 Equalizer to salvage draw 1
9 Wolves (EPL) (1) – 0 1 – 1 Goals enough to win game, poor defending turned it into a draw 1
10 Eintracht Frankfurt (Europa) (1) – 0 1 – 2 Goals enough to win game, poor defending turned it into a loss 0
11, 12 Norwich (EPL) 1 – (1), 2 – (2) 2 – 2 Equalizer to salvage draw 1
13 West Ham (EPL) 1 – (3) 1 – 3 Consolation goal 3
14 Bournemouth (EPL) 1 – (1) 1 – 1 Equalizer to salvage draw 1
15 Chelsea (EPL) (1) – 0 1 – 2 Goals enough to win game, poor defending turned it into a loss 0
16 Crystal Palace (EPL) (1) – 0 1 – 1 Goals enough to win game, poor defending turned it into a draw 1

These are mind blowing stats especially when you consider that Arsenal has had 28 points from 22 league games this season, but Aubameyang has been directly involved in 19 points.

Behind him is the exciting Gabriel Martinelli with eight goals, disappointing Alexandre Lacazette with six, underwhelming club-record signing, Nicolas Pepe, with five and fledgling Joe Willock with four. Five players (David Luiz, Reiss Nelson, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Bukayo Saka and Lucas Torreira) have two goals, while another five players (Dani Ceballos, Calum Chambers, Rob Holding, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Shkodran Mustafi) have one. 

I decided to use this opportunity to dig through seasons past, so as to understand the concept of Arsenal’s goal scorers in previous campaigns

2011/12 Robin van Persie (37), Theo Walcott (11), Mikel Arteta, Yossi Benayoun, Thomas Vermaelen (6)
2012/13 Theo Walcott (21), Olivier Giroud (17), Lukas Podolski (16)
2013/14 Olivier Giroud (22), Aaron Ramsey (16), Lukas Podolski (12)
2014/15 Alexis Sanchez (25), Olivier Giroud (19), Aaron Ramsey (10)
2015/16 Olivier Giroud (24), Alexis Sanchez (17), Theo Walcott (9)
2016/17 Alexis Sanchez (30), Theo Walcott (19), Olivier Giroud (16)
2017/18 Alexandre Lacazette (17), Aaron Ramsey (11) Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Danny Welbeck (10)
2018/19 Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (31), Alexandre Lacazette (19), Alex Iwobi, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey (6)

Like seasons past, there would always be that one alpha dog in Arsenal’s attack blasting in all the goals, but he must always get adequate support from his teammates. 

The manager has called on the rest of the squad to step up the plate with Aubameyang unavailable for the next three games,

“Losing probably the most important player is never nice. We have other players that can play in that position. We will try to find a way and be as competitive as possible.

They now have to make a step forward now he is not able to contribute to the team with goals. Someone else has to do it and I want to see that reaction too.”

Some may feel that I am harsh with my descriptions of Lacazette and Pepe, but like many Arsenal fans, I expected a whole lot more from them this season. Lacazette came off a 19-goal campaign last season and the fans wanted him to replicate that form, especially with him missing out on the World Cup last summer but he had an ankle injury that ruled him out for the early parts of the season. Nicolas Pepe on the other hand, has been adapting to the new league, but the patience of the fans is running thin, even though we remain hopeful that his form improves.

Gabriel Martinelli has scored more goals than Pepe and Lacazette despite featuring in a lesser amount of games, so I am excited to see what he has in store for us in the next three games. From the games he has featured, you can see his hunger, zeal and drive to make something happen any time he gets the ball at his feet. 

I am also hopeful that we get a couple of goals from midfield, even though the current lot in the starting XI haven’t shown any encouraging attacking returns all season long. Mesut Ozil is not a regular goalscorer but at least he chips in a few from time to time. He will certainly want to improve in 2020, as he had a record low for both goal and assists last year. Granit Xhaka on the other hand, blasts in those surface-to-goal piledrivers but he has not drifted forward too much in the campaign. 

The reality of the situation is that Arsenal will be without Aubameyang for the games against Sheffield United, Chelsea and Bournemouth. The Gunners hierarchy are appealing for a reduced ban, but we can’t rely on the FA to give them what they are hoping for.

Let’s just hope the players have what it takes to make up for his absence through suspension.

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