Arsenal: Arteta relieved with Aubameyang goal
Arsenal forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang should relinquish the captaincy to help rediscover his form, according to former Aston Villa and Chelsea star Andy Townsend. Aubameyang has scored just four goals in all competitions this season. His equaliser in the 1-1 draw at Southampton last Wednesday was his first from open play in the Premier League for over three months.
Aubameyang was made captain by Unai Emery in November 2019 after Granit Xhaka was stripped of the armband.
The former Borussia Dortmund star scored 29 goals in all competitions last term and led Mikel Arteta’s side to FA Cup glory with a brace in both the semi-final and final.
However, it has been a completely different story for the 31-year-old this season.
Aubameyang signed a new contract in September to keep him at Arsenal until 2023 but has struggled ever since.
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Townsend reckons giving up the captaincy would help the forward concentrate on scoring goals, rather than the extra responsibility the armband brings.
“Since they gave him his deal, since he’s become captain, he looks like a different man,” Townsend told talkSPORT.
“He got his goal against Southampton; I watched him score that goal and I like to see him in a position where you’ve got a chance to get a goal.
“All this stuff where he’s drifting out wide and he’s crossing balls for others, I don’t get that.
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“They tried to find a solution for that recently, but his own performances have been so off the pace that it’s made it difficult for Arteta to continually play him there.
“I’d say, ‘listen, if it’s going to help you, give the armband to someone else if it’s going to get you back to the man that you were’, and then do it.
“The best way Aubameyang can lead is not by trying to clench his fists and going up to players and sticking it in their faces, it’s to put the ball in the back of the net.
“Do what he does naturally. That’s the best way he can lead.”
Aubameyang is working his way back from a calf injury and could potentially return against Chelsea on Boxing Day.
“Auba is feeling much better and he was more positive yesterday than in the previous two days,” Arteta said on Monday.
“He will have another scan in the next few days and we will see how quickly we can get him back in the team.
“But we know how important he is for us and he feels that responsibility and he is trying his best to be back fit as quickly as possible.”
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