Arsenal manager, Mikel Arteta has told his striker, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang that he must handle the pressure that comes with being a “big player”.
The coach stated this at a press conference ahead of the match against Leicester City at the Emirates Stadium amid questions over the forward’s recent performances.
The skipper recently scored his first goal in nearly six weeks in Europa League on Thursday in a 2-1 win over Rapid Vienna. Aubameyang opened his season account against Fulham on September 12. Since then, the striker has not found the back of the net.
The Gabonese is now back to scoring at a good time against a very good opponent that mauled Manchester City 5-2 at the Etihad some weeks ago. Arteta is therefore expecting a big battle against the Lactic on Sunday.
His season’s tally of three goals in seven games across all competitions might not create a lot of concern for Arsenal that is still finding ways to win, some Gunners supporters are expecting more having scored 73 goals in 116 appearances since joining the club.
His contribution which involved crucial goals for the team towards the end of the season, especially the FA Cup was the real deal for him to get a new and improved contract. The Arsenal are therefore expecting him to do more.
Arteta didn’t place goal burden on ‘big player’ Aubameyang alone
It’s a good thing that the responsibility of getting in the goals has not been placed solely on Aubameyang who has been playing from the left-wing.
Since he found the back of the net with a sweet strike that resembled his goal against Liverpool in the Community Shield, Auba as he is fondly called netted against Fulham and he became a marked player.
The good thing is that Mikel Arteta has not been able to rely solely on just Auba doing the damage as goals can come from any member of the team.
Since his goal drought, Arsenal has scored nine goals in seven games with goals coming from David Luis, Alexandre Lacazette, Eddie Nketiah, Bukayo Saka, and Nicolas Pepe.
Having such players who have knacks for scoring goals will reduce the pressure on the Gabonese as expectations on him is to be better than last season.
The good thing is Arteta is managing the situation well as he gives Gabonese the time to find his goal-scoring touch again. Even if he is not among the goalscorers, his work rate is highly appreciated as he tracks back to defend for the team when they are not with the ball as well.
Scoring back to back will be a major boost for Auba and his tap in against the Austrian side could be nmore of what to come.
The is indeed managing the pressure well; al thanks to the manager.
Arteta believes in Aubameyang
When asked if it was surprising to see criticism of his captain, Arteta said it’s because they expect him to score in every game.
“No, because the expectations for him are that he has to score a goal every game.
“This comes with the nature of a big player and what he has done in the past. He needs to handle that and we have to support him when difficult times come.”
Expressing the belief that the forward can do more to meet those lofty standards, Arteta says he needs to get in more goal-scoring opportunities.
“He needs to get the ball more around the box in order to do what he is able to do.
“If you look at our fixtures, we have already played five games out of seven against top, top opposition.”
Having won earlier at the King Power Stadium this season in the Carabao Cup, the manager said the formation will be different this time around.
“The teams will be different. Formations can change as well, so let’s see what happens.
“We know that it’s going to be a really competitive match against a team that has evolved a lot in the last year or so. They had an incredible season last year and it’s always a challenge to play against them. We are expecting a big battle on Sunday.”