Arsenal now face three matches without Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the side, and it’s time to receive the proof we need that we can survive just fine without.
By now, everyone has seen the Premier League table modified by if VAR had made the right call. The latest in the slew of questionable moments was seeing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang‘s red card given after review against Crystal Palace. Now, Arsenal will have to survive without their prolific goal scorer for three matches.
Context of this modified table aside, there is a nice little opportunity baked into his absence to observe how prepared this team is to sell Aubameyang. I know that Mikel Arteta is all about not selling a soul, but getting a good return on Aubameyang needs to be weighed against what we will be losing.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again now—I really do believe that Gabriel Martinelli can step into the same role that Aubameyang is playing now and do it effectively enough that we wouldn’t miss Auba all that much.
Of course, there was never going to be a great opportunity to see that. Especially as Arteta was clearly erring on the side of experience rather than youth. If there was anything I could say has bothered me about Arteta (and this is being nitpicky), it’s his lack of youth presence.
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That can change here. Martinelli has to be favored to take over Aubameyang’s role. Reiss Nelson isn’t the guy we’re looking for and Bukayo Saka might be able to do it, but I don’t think there’s any argument here that Martinelli is the guy most equipped to do the job.
He’s not just our most exciting player, but he’s already proven himself at the Premier League level and he’s barely even been here long enough to get his toes wet.
Here’s what needs to happen: Mikel Arteta needs to trust the job to Martinelli. Three straight matches. If Martinelli proves himself capable, and if there isn’t a significant drop off in quality, then we need to seriously reconsider this renewed dedication to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Because if an 18-year-old can do it, then why keep someone that could fetch us £70m? Seems silly.
Honestly, as long as Arteta gives Martinelli the chance, I have no doubts that he will capitalize on it. Then it’s just a matter of making the right decision from there on out.