Sami Mokbel in the Daily Mail has torn into Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for his selfless decision to give his confidence-suffering teammate the chance to score from the spot against Stoke.
Aubameyang had the chance to complete his first Arsenal hattrick against the Potters at Ashburton Grove on Sunday but opted to give the ball to Alexandre Lacazette instead of taking the penalty Lacazette had won.
Returning from a knee injury, the Frenchman was low in confidence before he was sidelined and the goal against Stoke was the perfect tonic for him.
As he stepped up to the spot you could see how nervous he was and when he tucked it away, the relief was evident to everyone:
What the hell was Auba doing?!
How could he give up the chance to score a hattrick?
That’s the sort of things losers do and you’d never catch someone like Alexis Sanchez passing up that kind of opportunity screams Mokbel, who also decides to speak for Arsenal fans when he says, “In many ways, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang passing up the chance of a hat-trick encapsulates this Arsenal side. Too generous. Lacking ruthlessness. Soft….Arsenal fans are sick of being charitable.”
On another day about another issue, these points would be accurate but, speaking as an Arsenal fan, I don’t have a problem with Aubameyang wanting to help out a teammate when we are two up.
In fact, I think it’s a brilliant gesture from a player who has already shown himself to be the team player Alexis Sanchez will never be.
I know who I’d rather play with, that’s for sure – the striker who knows he’s part of a unit and not the selfish little git who is out to play for himself.
Aubameyang’s gesture was also bigger than just letting his mate get on the scoresheet.
He is no doubt aware of how his arrival affected the Frenchman, who was purchased to be the main man at Arsenal just a few months earlier only to see his position usurped by the former Borussia Dortmund striker.
It was a gesture that showed a level of awareness of others that should be applauded, not criticised. By handing the ball to Lacazette, Aubameyang said “I’m here to play with you, not take your place. We’re both on the same side.”
Given he’d already scored two goals himself and secured the points against Stoke, letting Laca take the second penalty showed a maturity Alexis Sanchez can only dream of.
“It shows the state of our society that when people are generous we are surprised,” said Arsene Wenger at his press conference. “Even more so footballers. Even more strikers.”
On that, Arsene, we can certainly agree.
The Telegraph get it
In contrast, the Telegraph understood completely what Auba was doing.
Unlike Mokbel, Jeremy Wilson wrote Aubameyang “…on top of his own clinical finishing and a new haircut that included the name of his recently deceased grandmother, had demonstrated a welcome wider awareness of the significance of Thursday’s Europa League quarter-final against CSKA Moscow.
“Aubameyang is ineligible for that competition but was clearly conscious of how the club’s hopes will depend largely on Lacazette following his comeback from knee surgery.”
After the game, Aubameyang explained simply, “I knew it would be good for his confidence.”
Perhaps too simply for the Daily Mail to grasp.