Tim Sherwood and Dion Dublin have criticised Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s decision to give Nicolas Pepe a penalty against Aston Villa on Sunday.
Arsenal were 1-0 down and in need of a lifeline with a player sent off when Matteo Guendouzi won a second-half penalty for the Gunners at the weekend. Aubameyang was expected to step up and take it, but instead, he handed responsibility over to Pepe.
Unsurprisingly, Pepe put the spot-kick away. He’s now scored 12 of his 13 career penalties, a 92.3% conversion rate. Tim Sherwood still believes it was the wrong decision though, insisting Aubameyang should have taken it himself.
“Stick to the plan, you are the penalty taker, stick to the plan,” Sherwood said.
“You’re not a pub team, you’re not in the Sunday League where you think, “I’m going to help my mate out, you can take this one because I’ve scored a few goals this year”. You’re behind in the game, you need that goal.”
“Harry Kane wouldn’t do it, Aguero wouldn’t do it,” Dion Dublin added, forgetting that Aguero actually has done it before.
In the 2017/18 season, Aguero allowed Raheem Sterling to take a penalty against Watford, even though he was the designated taker that day.
Benjamin Mendy later explained: “We won a penalty and everyone knows Sergio takes our penalties but he said, ‘No, let Raheem take it’. Kun doesn’t just want to be the star himself. He wants all the players to shine, everyone to be brilliant.”
As for Kane, Dublin is probably right. A person who swears on his child’s life to take a goal away from his teammate probably wouldn’t give the penalty up, even if it would help the team to do so.
A player who has been outscored by Aubameyang in every Premier League season so far needs all the help he can get.
Aubameyang scored 10 to Kane’s nine after joining in 2017/18, then 22 to Kane’s 17 in 2018/19, and he currently leads six to four this season. They’ve taken the same number of league penalties in that time.
I doubt many Arsenal fans are too upset about Aubameyang handing over a penalty to a player with a better conversion rate who needed a goal. A player who scored it to spark a comeback and win the three points. In a game where Aubameyang also scored anyway.