Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been criticised over a “drop-off” in standards since penning a new bumper three-year deal with Arsenal in September.
The Gunners’ captain was rewarded with a mega-money extension after months of speculation linking him with a transfer elsewhere.
But since signing the agreement committing him to the club till 2023, the forward has scored just once in six matches and displayed a notable dip in form.
His only strike came in last week’s Europa League win over Rapid Vienna, meaning he has drawn a blank in his previous five Premier League outings.
And former England striker turned pundit Darren Bent feels it’s not just Aubameyang’s goal return which is lacking.
“There has been a drop-off,” Bent said to talkSPORT .
“You look at his form in the semi-final and the final of the FA Cup last season, the Community Shield and his performance [in the season opener] against Fulham – he was arguably one of the best strikers in the Premier League, probably THE best.
“But since he signed that new contract, it might be a coincidence, but he’s looked a shadow of himself.
“He’s missed big opportunities in games, he’s not working with the same intensity, he doesn’t look like he’s enjoying it as much.”
Arsenal’s attack as a whole has come under scrutiny in recent matches as their forwards have struggled with creativity in the final third.
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In the defeats to Man City and Leicester particularly, Arsenal’s front line barely troubled the opposing goalkeepers, with Aubameyang’s five-match league drought the first time he has gone that long without a goal since 2014.
Bent continued: “Listen, confidence is massive in a striker. It is with any player, but particularly with a centre-forward, when you’re used to scoring as many goals as he is and then you suddenly stop scoring, it can be a little bit of a concern.
“But I think it’s even the workrate as well.
“You remember, he was putting shifts up and down, he was all over the place, but he’s been nowhere near that level recently.”