Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s form from last season to this is as contrasting as the fan’s mood surrounding the Gabonese frontman.
Our Number 14 has been the bastion of dependability for many seasons. If we take the three seasons previous to the current campaign, we see Auba has bagged 31 goals in 2017/18, 31 goals in 2018/19 and 29 goals last season. Chuck in assists into the mix and you have 38, 39 and 32 for the last three campaigns.
Go back further and he did the same with Dortmund in the Bundesliga. Make no mistake, Aubameyang is a world class striker, but this season we have seen a slump that has lasted longer than he is used to – and what we are accustomed to.
Hark back to the end of last season. Joyous in the aftermath of another FA Cup triumph, we looked to this coming season with genuine hope that Arteta was going to bring the good times back to Arsenal. And at the forefront of this would be Aubameyang. Mr Dependable. Scoring goals for fun.
Last season we were held up in a large part by his goals. Inept in a lot of areas, with a bloated squad, we limped home in the League but it would have been much worse without Auba’s goals, who once again contended for another Golden Boot.
A lot thought we didn’t deserve him. So when it came round to contract negotiations, there was a definite feeling of pessimism that we may lose our star striker to a club with aspirations higher than ours – and the means to achieve those dreams.
So when it was announced that he was staying, there was an almighty sigh of relief from within our fanbase. The reveal from Arsenal revelled in the good news and we could look forward to Auba’s goals for seasons to come. We could build on this. It was a sign that the good times were going to return.
But this hasn’t quite transpired. We have struggled, we have soared at times too. But underlining it all is a feeling of being underwhelmed. Tenth spot isn’t good enough for a club of our stature, and the dark cloud hanging over the club looks to be casting a shadow over our striker too.
In the eyes of a large portion of fans – according to social media, that is – Aubameyang has gone from saviour to just another player we could use to raise funds. We should concentrate on Martinelli, some say. Others think that the reliable Lacazette is a better bet for our goals, backed up by the precociousness of Martinelli and Balogun.
Yet rewind back to the summer – not even a year ago – and we could all see what a player we have. How can we ignore the consistent amount of goals from Auba? His levels are in line with some of the best in the world, and when he signed his new deal, we were ecstatic for GOOD reason.
Now is the time not to cast him aside. He has not suffered a mediocre season such as this one since his Ligue Un days. We need to support him and let him know that he has our faith that he will return to the goal trail. Despite this campaign being heralded as the downturn of his form and goals – he still has 15 goals and assists from 32 games. And this is meant to be his worst. Some say because he has earned his fat new contract, that this downturn in fortunes is him resting on his laurels. Which is frankly ridiculous.
Confidence is a fragile thing, even for the more exuberant players like Auba. When he gets it back, the goals will flow. Until then, surely he has warranted our backing – instead of us being that toddler with a tantrum who thinks their toy is broken when the batteries run out.