Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s recent form is perhaps a fitting metaphor for Arsenal’s recent fortunes as a whole – misfiring, lackadaisical and a far cry from the highs of August.
The former Borussia Dortmund star has proved to be a consistent goalscorer ever since signing for the Premier League giants almost three years ago.
But, somewhat surprisingly, the Gunners captain has been pretty woeful in front of goal this season in a struggling team under Mikel Arteta.
It is arguably the worst goalscoring period of Aubameyang’s career in England – and ahead of their clash with Tottenham, Mirror Sport has taken a closer look at what’s gone wrong…
So, Aubameyang was in stunning form last season?
Having arrived in North London in 2018, Aubameyang was the subject of debate as to whether he already qualifies as a club legend as recently as this summer after his FA Cup final heroics against Chelsea.
The former Borussia Dortmund man bagged a brace at Wembley that day, a tally that equals his entire goal return thus far for the 2020/21 Premier League campaign.
Aubameyang won the golden boot in his first full season with the Gunners with 22 goals, before narrowly missing out by just one strike last campaign.
As the hectic Christmas period creeps closer, Arsenal’s skipper is already some way behind the league’s leading marksman Dominic Calvert-Lewin who boasts 10 goals already.
According to Opta, before 2020/21, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had the joint-5th best minutes per goal ratio in Premier League history; scoring every 128 minutes. This season, he’s scored just twice in 897 league minutes.
Why has his from dropped off?
Unlike some of his Arsenal teammates, members of the Gunners fanbase have actually expressed their sympathy for the Gabonese international.
Outside of his calmly taken penalty at Old Trafford which proved to be the difference between the two sides, Aubameyang’s xG (Expected Goals) record has not yet reached above one in any league game this season. This means, according to the xG metric, the striker has not yet had a clear-cut chance in any of Arsenal’s ten league games thus far. A startling symbol for how difficult Arteta’s Arsenal seem to find creating opportunities.
According to the Opta stats, Aubameyang’s overall non penalty xG for the entire campaign is a meagre 0.14.
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Despite Sunday’s 2-1 home defeat to Wolves marking a grim milestone for Arsenal, just the second time the Gunners have a lost three home games consecutively in their history, it was actually Aubameyang’s best showing from an xG perspective all season.
Nine touches in the opposition box along with five efforts on goal, it was his most active and threatening game thus far. It is hardly a coincidence that this was also one of the few chances Aubameyang has had operating as a central striker so far.
It is a source of great frustration for many Arsenal fans that the few chances their side do create, rarely fall to Aubameyang. Often deployed on the left-wing, Auba’s heat maps throughout all his league games scarcely show him in positions where is most likely to be at his lethal best.
Auba’s new deal
Arsenal fans sit uneasy at the idea of Aubameyang’s form faltering just weeks after signing a lucrative new contract; they have seen this exact story play out with playmaker Mesut Ozil.
Auba’s opening day strike against Fulham came before he put pen to paper on his latest lucrative deal, meaning since the club confirmed the extension of his stay for another three years the striker has notched just one goal from the penalty spot and zero from open play in the Premier League.
The North London Derby
Aubameyang’s dire form comes at the worst possible time, with yet another highly anticipated North London Derby approaching this Sunday. Arsenal’s captain goes into the game amid the worst goal drought of his career since October 2014.
From his debut against Everton in 2018 to the end of last season, Arsenal’s star man was one of the league’s most solid and consistent performers – regularly rescuing his side.
Under Arteta, Aubameyang has found the back of the net once in every five efforts; proving he remains one of the best strikers in the league.
If he features through the middle away at high-flying league leaders Tottenham on Sunday, Arsenal fans will be hoping he proves to be the difference between two North London sides with very contrasting morale.