Mikel Arteta has been praising Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who looks like a player reborn this season.
Last season was Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s worst return on the pitch since he became a professional footballer.
Many feared that he had become a victim of Arsenal’s mega-contract curse, his form falling off a cliff-edge after he signed a huge new deal to stay at the club.
But this season, Auba has not only hit the ground literally running, he’s working harder than many of us have seen before and that is translating into goals for the forward.
Auba has seven already this campaign. He only scored 15 in the whole of last season.
“I have never seen Auba transmit what he is doing now,” Arteta told Arsenal Media.
“Apart from the goals, the celebration when they put the ball in the net, do you see the way he runs? The purpose he has to press the ball, and when he takes it his movement, his link, how is leading the game – that is when he is changing the rest, not when he is static and then he puts the ball in the net. I prefer this Auba.
“For me it is a click. It is a combination that realising that his role has to go well beyond that.
“What was good, or very good, two or three years ago, with his role in this team, at this club, it is not enough. He had to take a step forward. I would say the same with Laca, look what he is transmitting, not just doing or playing, what he is transmitting. For me that is really, really important.
“They lead by example and not only there but as well at the training ground. Certain things, a role they could have had three years ago in the squad, now it has changed.
“Human beings change themselves every six months, they have all new selves, and it’s incredible so we are able to adapt very quickly and manipulate and change our minds very quickly as well. They are doing that for the benefit of the club, but for sure for the benefit of themselves [too].”
Arsenal face Leeds United in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday night.
Usually, you would expect Arsenal to rest the likes of Auba totally for this game, but with no Europe and a desire to keep momentum up, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him on the bench, at least.
Aubameyang has played Leeds twice previously and has three goals against them.
In the League Cup, Auba has only played four games for Arsenal and has three goals and one assist.