Mikel Arteta isn’t surprised by the criticism of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, given the high expectations the striker set for himself.
Despite scoring his third goal of the season on Thursday, along with one assist in his seven games so far, Aubameyang is coming in for some criticism at the moment. It’s a few league games since he last scored, and fan expectations are high after the new contract.
Arteta admits this kind of criticism is what you expect when you’re a top striker, but the club will help support the 31-year-old.
“No [I’m not surprised by the criticism],” Arteta said. “Because expectations for him are that he has to score a goal every game. So this comes with the nature of the big player that he is, what he has done in the past.
“People expect that from him in the future. We are here to help him with that, and we will support him when difficult times come around him.”
As for the suggestions Aubameyang would get more chances to increase his goal tally playing in the middle, Arteta waved away that talk.
“That’s always going to happen. The moment he does not score, he needs to play as a 9. If you play him as a 9, why don’t you keep him on the left because he has been so successful on the left? It’s going to happen, I know.”
Will the addition of Thomas Partey help Aubameyang?
Aubameyang was clearly happy to see new teammate Thomas Partey arriving on deadline day, as he thinks the former Atletico Madrid midfielder will add a lot to the Arsenal team. He explained why to the Arsenal matchday programme.
“He is so strong physically but yet so good on the ball as well,” Aubameyang said. “We didn’t really have a profile like this in our squad before. In terms of ball progression, beating the press, going forward, he will be very important for us.
“It is good for some of our younger players as well to have a player like him, of his calibre at training. They will learn a lot from him.”
After an impressive first start in the Europa League, Partey will hope to replicate that performance in domestic competition. Arsenal have some big games coming up, with Leicester City at home before Manchester United away in the league.
Even after that, Arsenal have to face high-flying sides like Aston Villa and Leeds United. There aren’t many easy Premier League games around at the moment, but the fixture list still seems particularly tricky for Mikel Arteta’s side right now.
As a result, it’s important Arteta figures out his strongest team quickly. Arsenal can afford to rotate in the Europa League, given their group isn’t exactly the strongest, with all due respect. They already have their toughest game on paper out of the way.
So if Arteta can establish his best side quickly, he can give them all proper rests every midweek. Surely, Partey will be part of that first-choice lineup to help Aubameyang rediscover his best scoring form.