Arsenal: A brand new Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang?

Arsenal, Willian (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Arsenal, Willian (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images) /

Many Arsenal fans counted Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for lost, but his performance against Chelsea hinted at a brand new man.

I, among many other Arsenal fans, had written off Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang a long time ago. Then his match against Chelsea happened, and suddenly there’s a seed of niggling doubt in my mind—is it possible that a 30-year-old superstar striker can change his ways and become something he’s not been in recent memory?

Time will tell. I, for one, am not about to write Aubameyang back in just because he was incredible in one match. But I will admit that it showed a degree of professionalism I never thought we’d see out of him.

Not just that, but if the goal is to sell him, then this does nothing bu increase the return. Ideally, at least.

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The goal was what it was. It was well taken, it was well seen, it was Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. But what he did outside of that goal is what made him the easy man of the match.

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Only three guys had more defensive actions than Aubameyang—Matteo Guendouzi and Ainsley Maitland-Niles. Maitland-Niles was fantastic on the day, winning the ball back eight times all on his own. Guendouzi, who had a rougher day overall, managed six.

Aubameyang had five. He tied with Guendouzi for second most tackles completed on the team and throughout the course of the match, we saw a guy that I’ve never seen before. We saw him playing wingback just as often as he played striker.

It’s been well-documented how little Aubameyang likes playing as a winger, but something Mikel Arteta has done sparked new life in Aubameyang. For some reason, the Gabonese striker saw fit to track all over the pitch, cover more ground than anyone else, help out Bukayo Saka in so many ways, provide the only goal for the Gunners and do all of it for a whole 90 minutes.

This is the most he has ever been involved in a match, and the club benefited from it. There’s no doubt about that.

Now, again, does one match mean that he’s a new man? Not necessarily. But if this does spark long-term changes in the striker, we can all look back at this Chelsea match as the turning point.

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And if Mikel Arteta can do that, then truly that man can do absolutely anything he puts his mind to. Now it’s just a question of if we should get our hopes up.