Arsenal: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has broken Garth Crooks

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 03: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Arsenal during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Everton at Emirates Stadium on February 3, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 03: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Arsenal during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Everton at Emirates Stadium on February 3, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images) /

No Arsenal success story would be complete without Garth Crooks’ invaluable opinion. But has Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang truly caused him to lose it?

I try to be fair and balanced with other people’s opinions, regardless of where they played their football. For instance, I have been critical of Thierry Henry and Ian Wright and, obviously, they were both rather important for Arsenal.

Then there is Garth Crooks.

I don’t think there is another human being out there who I vehemently disagree with more than Garth Crooks.

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So, before I launch my latest counter-Crooks, here’s a complete quote of what he so bizarrely said:

"But are the Arsenal fans or manager Arsene Wenger, for that matter, going to destroy another top-class player in order to play in a particular manner? Alexandre Lacazette looks as if he has now become surplus to requirements because of Wenger’s insistence that two up front cannot work. Correction – two up front does not work for him. Meanwhile, he is destroying strikers with every stroke of his Montblanc – ask Olivier Giroud. Let’s hope Aubameyang survives Wenger’s blame game."

Now, credit where it is due, Crooks said one and a half things that I have to give the thumbs up to. I do find it odd that we can’t play with two strikers and I think Wenger could have done more with Olivier Giroud.

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But did he ruin Giroud? Abso-frickin’-lutely not. And this is where my tirade begins. To claim that Arsene Wenger ruined Giroud is one of the biggest foot-in-mouth comments I have ever heard a paid pundit say in my time covering this beautiful sport. No other manager would have stuck with Giroud for as long as Wenger did. Through the fan abuse, Giroud remained an integral part of the club. He won three FA Cups here.

Maybe Wenger could have challenged him more, but Giroud hit the 100 mark with a club as historic as Arsenal and he stated time and again his love for the club, for the manager, for everything that has to do with this club.

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And that’s ruining him?

You know what the best part about Crooks broad-sweeping “Wenger is destroying strikers with every stroke of his Montblanc” claim is? He has absolutely nothing to back that statement up with. Not a thing. So he says ask Giroud, who has been allowed to depart the club to find more time before the World Cup.

He cites Alexandre Lacazette after six months with the club and just one match of not fitting into the starting XI. Crooks is basing this massive claim all off one match. For the same reasons I’m not going to say that Aubameyang is the second coming of Henry based off one match, Crooks can’t possibly actually think that Lacazette has been ruined by one match. Lacazette is being challenged, the same thing that supposedly ruined Giroud. So which is it?

Now he’s “worried” that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is going to be ruined the same way Giroud and Lacazette were supposedly ruined? Aubameyang was brought in to replace Giroud and to challenge Lacazette. Both of the club’s current strikers are here to improve their game and get better at what they do. If you don’t challenge them, then what?

And what is this about a blame game? When has Wenger ever blamed a player for anything? He has never and he will never.

You know who Garth Crooks so carefully forgot? Thierry Henry and Robin van Persie. Both of whom Wenger ruined from solid careers as wingers and instead turned them into world-beating strikers. He forgot Ian Wright, who extended his playing career because of the success he found at Arsenal. He forgot Dennis Bergkamp too, more commonly known as the ruined Dutchman.

This is pure, baseless jabber that no one will hold Crooks accountable for. So that’s why I’ve anointed myself the Crooks patrol. Every opinion has merit, so they say, but if that opinion is steeped in falsities and generalizations that are so easily disproved, then does it really have merit?

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I’m done now, I’ve simmered down. I would welcome a discussion with Garth Crooks to dive into this belief system that he has of how Wenger “ruins” world class strikers. Surely Wenger has his flaws, and there have been a few players he has handled poorly, but this is just ridiculous.