The striker we want versus the striker we need. Keep faith in Aubameyang


Some fans would cash in

On Twitter, I asked a simple question: would you sell Aubameyang to buy Ødegaard?
The outcome of this quick poll was clear: yes, definitely.

Basically, we’re ready to give up one of the most prolific goalscorers of the last decade in order to acquire the services of a playmaker, although sublime. I was a bit surprised, because selling Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang with no guarantee about a potential replacement is a big choice.
Without a proven goalscorer, there is no point in playing breath-taking football and creating chances, they will all go to waste; if there’s one player who built his entire career on scoring goals consistently, that’s our current captain. Are we ready to give that up?

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A big hit but…

I might be wrong but the outcome of the poll was heavily influenced by the recent counter-performances displayed by the former Saint-Étienne and Borussia Dortmund forward, who’s been wasteful against Olympiacos and went missing against West Ham. It’s funny because Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has always been quite wasteful during his career and has always been a low-touch kind of striker, yet it seems that lately many of us are less willing to accept his style of play or have set expectations that the Gabonese will never meet.

Also, I feel that the damages done by the handling of Mesut Özil since his new contract are still very present in our minds and the idea of history repeating itself with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is just too scary. The divide, the questions, the anger and the frustration created by the German, paired with the impact on the Club’s financial power, have left some very deep scars and no one wants to experience that again.

So, it’s power to the flair, then!

With Martin Ødegaard, Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka on the pitch, the Arsenal looks more and more like a team able to create problems to any opponent, given the different skill-sets of each player: one versus one, ghosting between the lines, anticipating the play, strength, finesse, quick interplay, long-range shooting – we’ve got it all.
That area of the pitch between midfield and attack could well be our main asset, especially if we consider that we also have Nicolas Pépé and Willian available for selection: they’re inconsistent, of course, but they definitely can influence a game when inspired and determined.


Stacked with flair and vision

Assuming that we sell Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and make Martin Ødegaard our marquee signing, we’d be stocked with vision, technique and creativity.

There’s still the you-need-to-score-goals-to-win-football-games problem, though: who is going to convert all those chances?

If we take Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang away from the current squad, Mikel Arteta is left with Alexandre Lacazette, Eddie Nketiah and Gabriel Martinelli.

That’s not enough, simple.

Alexandre Lacazette has never scored more than 14 league goals, even when he was the main man upfront, and there is no evidence that Eddie Nketiah can replicate his goal scoring prowess at senior level, while Gabriel Martinelli is young and raw, without factoring in his preference to play off the left wing.

Without Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s goals, we are destined to struggle in the top-half of the table even if we manage to create more chances or at least better chances.

The Gabonese forward might not do much beside scoring goals but, at the end of the day, goals are the most important of the “fine margins” that Mikel Arteta keeps banging about.
He might not be the striker we would like to have but he’s most definitely the striker we desperately need to get out of this mid-table mediocrity.

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5 Responses to The striker we want versus the striker we need. Keep faith in Aubameyang

  1. Ken March 26, 2021 at 9:53 am #

    He is definitely not interested anymore

    • Andrea Rosati March 29, 2021 at 11:21 am #

      Thanks Ken, I’m not sure he’s not interested anymore. He looks uninterested, that’s for sure, but I’m pretty sure he’s still very onboard with Arteta and the team. Hopefully he will start scoring goals again very soon

  2. Fed Rafael March 26, 2021 at 11:43 am #

    Andrea, thank you for yr article which I found insightful and well argued but I have to disagree with you in part.

    I love Auba not only for his phenomenal prowess as a striker but also because, unlike He Who Shall Not Be Named, he is not cynically using our great club as a platform to expand his social media profile. He seems genuinely to love AFC, shares the passion of the fans and, with his beautiful smile, his enthusiasm seems to radiate gloriously over both fans and players. He has flair, he has personality, he has talent and… he is half-Spanish (La Roja could have done with him after Davíd Villa who has never been truly replaced but sadly he chose Gabón)!

    What more could we ask for? Well alot. He is an elite player on an elite wedge and yet his overall performance this season has been poor. Not just against Olympiacos and West Ham but for the majority of the games he has played in. Just as his enthusiasm and smile can be infectuous, so can a sombre mood impact the dressing room and the field of play and it showed with our terrible run this season.

    Clearly something is up. He is not the same Auba. If he has personal issues, as we all do, and they are difficult to balance with his job, as many of us find difficult, then I think Auba owes it to the club, the fans and the younger players to step aside and get himself sorted. Take time out (ideally on half-pay). I would also rotate him more.

    Both options would at least free-up the space to allow the younger players to blossom otherwise the “young and raw” Martinelli will become “old and raw” and Eddie Nketiah and Pepé will just leave for pastures new. I mean, if somebody in front of you is playing badly game afer game and you still can’t play, how demoralising is that?

    BTW, as an aside, I believe NKetiah has the makings of a very good striker -he is not bulky, he is not super tall but he has incredible tenacity, whippet-like reactions and speed and very intelligent movement; I would loan him out so that he can rebuild his confidence. I also love that he’s one of our own, home-grown and, ideally, will eventually prosper at home.

    Finally onto Martin Odegaard. According to the Spanish press it is not going to happen and the better he plays, sadly for us Arsenal-loving folk, the less likely he will come to us. But to answer the original question: I also would keep Auba but only under the strict condition that he delivers, whatever the performance metrics are, and I would rotate him far more.

    Again, thank you for your article and sorry if my reply has been so long.

    • Andrea Rosati March 29, 2021 at 11:25 am #

      Thanks a lot for your comment Fed, surely Arteta could bench him or replace him earlier in games but it’s always a difficult decision to make. On one side you want to show trust and support, on the other you can’t show any form of favoritism. One way or another, Arteta would be wrong, eventually. If it pays off, it’s all good, if it backfires, he’d be under pressure. Personally, I would stick with Auba and get that smile back

  3. Fed Rafael March 29, 2021 at 1:38 pm #

    Hello again Andrea, thank you for writing back.

    Some of us have incredible mental fortitude, the iron will, to succeed no matter the odds and a deep well of resilience to overcome setbacks. If there is a player in world football that epitomises this do-or-die spirit for me it is Cristiano Ronaldo.

    Most of us, however, and I include my self, are sensitive souls who need an arm around the shoulder in difficult moments and respond well to encouragement. We also need to play not only to reinforce our sense of purpose as players, our professional self-esteem if you like, but also to hone and develop our core footballing skills and to apply these in a competitive environment. Doing it in training is never the same. It is amazing how quickly, for example, players become rusty even when training every day when they are sitting on the bench or playing their football in the reserves.

    Just look at Dani Ceballos. Believe me, he is a very very gifted player with real pedigree (Real Madrid, under 19, 21 + full international including twice best player /team of the tournament) and yet his football recently, for lack of playing time in my view, has beeen shockingly below his high standards let alone that of our club.

    Which is why rotation becomes an important management tool: not used just tactically or to replace tired players in the course of the match but strategically to ensure that the FIRST TEAM SQUAD is fully engaged and ready when called upon. By keeping with Auba even with his terrible form or with Bellerín with his indifferent form or with Xaka with his conveyour-belt of errors and not drop them or substitute them is, in my view, not only not utilising the full resources of the squad but also potentially damaging our players.

    Every motivational psychologist will tell you that the quickest way to demotivate somebody is not to acknowledge their improvment or progress and then reward another whose performance has not been worthy of reward.

    What has happened to Eddie Nketiah, Reiss Nelson, Folarin Balogun – to cite just 3 examples? The flower of our youth are withering on the vine, unloved, unwanted, and unlikely to ever play first team football at AFC unless they move on. Which is precisely what FB is doing and, who can blame him?

    Mikel Arteta may be flavour of the month and he may come across all intense and deep-thinking but for me his track record in squad management has been poor, very poor. To answer your question again: Auba should be dropped as indeed should any player who does not perform, does not give their all to the club in every game.

    Thank you again – saludos – Fed

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