Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s performance against league leaders Manchester City was a testament that footballers, especially those in their 30s, tread on thin ice.
Put one foot wrong and the social media is filled with posts stating the player is out of his depths. In Aubameyang’s case, people who were being critical of the striker on social media completely forgot the impact the player had on the team just seven days back.
Aubameyang is too often a passenger when playing as a striker. His hold up play has been horrific.
— Bhavs (@bhavss14) February 21, 2021
The 31-year-old has had an underwhelming campaign this season, having netted just five goals in the Premier League prior to the game against Leeds last week. Arsenal handed another long-term contract to a player in his thirties and would be hoping that it is not just another story like Mesut Ozil or Willian.
Aubameyang has failed to lead the team on many occasions this season
But their fears were highlighted at the weekend as Aubameyang struggled to make an impact as Manchester City downed them one-nil at the Emirates Stadium. Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp was the first one to put fuel on the fire for Arsenal fans. “When I watch him sometimes, it’s like he’s lost his superpower,” said Redknapp.
The former Liverpool and Spurs man went on to say that age has caught up to Arsenal’s star striker. The French-born Gabon international has been far too inconsistent this season. And with a team lacking a common outlet for leadership, he has failed to provide anything. Young guns such as Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka look like the more influential pieces in Arteta’s Arsenal puzzle.
Although Arsenal fans would not say it aloud, Aubameyang does not provide the team with anything other than goals. His link-up play is poor. He can hardly hold the ball up the pitch. And most surprisingly, given that he is 6ft2, he has no aerial presence whatsoever.
He has looked an isolated figure up top when playing against top teams. This is a player who looks like an up-and-coming young striker rather than the one who has racked more than 200 goals across three countries.
Arteta must address his “ghost striker” as some Arsenal fans have called him after the defeat against Pep Guardiola’s men.
But one thing that people can expect from the 31-year-old is the complete commitment to the task at hand even when times are hard. Even though his performances aren’t there, it’s a team game and Arsenal’s issues extend far beyond Aubameyang.