Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang arrived in north London in January and he did not take long to find his footing at Arsenal. It must be said that the Gabonese landed with a flattering reputation acquired during his time with Borussia Dortmund. He was named the 2015 African Player of the year and Player of the Year in the Bundesliga in 2015-16 before outscoring everybody in the German top flight for the 2016-17 season. He is the last player to have been signed by Arsène Wenger before his departure.
His record stands at 141 goals in 213 appearances for Dortmund, and his arrival brought a new sense of optimism whilst raising expectations at the Emirates. Going by what we have seen thus far, it is fair to say that he has not disappointed. He has received praise from many quarters for his speed, and the quality of his movements in the final third. However, Aubameyang has flourished, in part, due to the way Arsenal play. The system complements his qualities.
He has made 22 appearances in the Premier League during which he has managed to score 16 goals. However, if he keeps scoring at the rate at which he has been doing lately, we can expect his to be an illustrious career in England. From the day he made his debut, there was always this feeling of aggression that he brought to the side. Confidence was low at the time but recent developments seem to confirm that buying him was the right decision. In the last five games in all competitions, “Auba” has scored seven goals, including three braces, the latest against Leicester being particularly telling.
He was called from the bench with 30 minutes to play and it did not take him more than three minutes to find the back of the net. Shortly after that, he was on target once again in the 66th minute to send the game beyond the reach of the visiting Leicester. All these are signs of a player brimming with confidence. The way in which both of his goals were created was a typical team effort rather than individual brilliance, and credit goes to his ability to understand the movement of those around him. Unai Emery has tailored a perfect system that has his players and particularly “Auba” looking like a fish in water whenever they initiate an attacking move.
Emery advocates for high pressing which allows Arsenal to recover the ball in the opposition’s half, a style that suits Aubameyang especially when you consider his quick feet. When moving forward the Gabon international is very difficult to catch up with and he is extremely lethal in one-v-one situations with goalkeepers.
So impressive has the Arsenal man been that he is attracting comparisons with Thierry Henry, arguably Arsenal’s best striker of all time. In his first season in London, Henry scored 17 goals in 31 league games. Aubameyang has already scored 16 in 22 appearances since January in the league, and six goals this season. Arsenal have just gone on a ten-match winning streak for the first time since 2007 and he has been at the centre of all the action.
The Gunners can take comfort in the fact that they have a proven goalscorer to help them challenge for a top four finish and indeed the Europa League.