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The season struggles of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Dec 13, 2021, 5:03:00 AM

The season struggles of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

This season has not been kind to Arsenal forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as he continues to struggle with the team’s lack of synergy and offensive dynamic. It remains to be seen whether or not he’ll pick up the slack.

Nobody predicted that Aubameyang was going to struggle mightily this year with all the great talent and coaching surrounding him. When he signed his contract for an extension this season, everyone thought that the best of Aubameyang would translate on the field.

However, not only is it far from expected, but his season lows are concerning for a star player in the league. So, what exactly happened to Aubameyang?

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Aubameyang is a low-touch player

Aside from his off-field dilemmas like personal problems and disciplinary issues attributed to Aubameyang, the chance creation volume for the team is at an all-time low. Arsenal is 11th in xG (expected goals). However, they are also 6th in shots per match and any discussion of Aubameyang must include his middle or wide playstyle.

He will have extremely low touches in the league where he couldn’t create a shot at the goal where he can contribute to the offence. He will also struggle to create build-up plays since the nature of his game of being in the middle of the field will lead to low-touches.

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Aubameyang’s stat lines this year

Statistically, Aubameyang is having a similar season to his previous two ones where he was averaging 0.46 xG/90. In 2021, he is also putting up similar numbers but taking slightly more shots.

In the field, Aubameyang is not receiving the ball all that much compared to his previous seasons. There is a particularly good reason for this, and partly to blame for his lack of touches is his new position and playing style where he is more involved on the left field.

His low touches don’t necessarily mean that he has no touches at all. As a left fielder, he may not be receiving passes from Granit Xhaka. However, in the central areas of the field, he can shift to centre forward where he can pick up the ball and run it down to the goal post to get a higher chance of scoring.

In different ways, Aubameyang is still the same player he always has been for his career, but Arsenal isn’t utilizing his playstyle and talents to good use. For instance, he is incredibly nifty with his pacing when the offence is operating. However, for some reason, Arsenal is creating even fewer cutbacks for Aubameyang to shift and create chances for himself to advance towards the goal.

Knowing this, his struggles apparently have nothing to do with his talent nor his age, but instead because of Arsenal’s style of play.

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Arsenal has a worse offense in general

While Aubameyang has never been known for his offence, the way Arsenal plays this season just proves that their style of play is simply not comparable to top offensive clubs like Manchester United and Chelsea.

It speaks volumes about their team when considering the fact that Arsenal has had so many iterations of the team with great offence in the past. The biggest problem with Arsenal is how their great players don’t gel in this offence. For one, Aubameyang is not integrated properly putting him on the left field for the most part where he receives little to no touches.

There are other teams with greater offence where Arsenal’s defence couldn’t keep up with. For starters, the Red Devils who are at the top of the table in the Premier League has stellar offence and defence that make up most of their wins this season.

Each player on United’s roster works well, and they have an incredibly efficient offence that just works with how they draw upon their game plan. While Arsenal is not far off the table rankings, they still need to make up a strategy to improve their overall performance as many teams with better records are not slowing down anytime soon.

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How can Aubameyang and Arsenal improve? 

For starters, Arsenal can draw up better offensive schemes to allow players to reach their potentials for being great offensive threats in the field. Players like Aubameyang have great potential in the penalty box, so why can’t Arsenal make plays for him to be as effective in helping the team?

There are many questions looming as to how Arsenal is going to get back on track and be the team to beat like years before. However, with their great defence and solid players, it’s very likely that they’ll turn the tables and find the best players for their offence to be producing again.

Arsenal simply gets outplayed by the better teams

Clubs like United and Chelsea are proof that no matter how you look at your own team, the better clubs simply do more cohesive plays. When you have great players like Cristiano Ronaldo and Mason Mount on your team, it’s going to be difficult to beat clubs with this much talent on a roster.

Arsenal’s players are having a hard time finding strides in their roles which affects the chemistry of the team immensely. While they are still figuring out how to solve the gaping holes of their offence, top-tier teams like the Red Devils and the Blues are destroying football clubs left and right that surge them at the top of the table. If Arsenal can find the time to mold their offence into a top 5, then a different story unfolds completely.

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Words: Vonn Consul 

Image: PA