There is a certain art to playing someone out of position, but Arsenal continuously using Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as such is more than a little befuddling.
When Arsenal signed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, they signed one of the foremost strikers in the footballing world. Keyword there is ‘striker,’ which is something that apparently doesn’t apply anymore. Not since Mikel Arteta took over.
First of all, let me preface with my usual spiel—I am loving what Mikel Arteta is doing, and I respect his position to experiment a little while he figures things out. But I also have to ask questions, that’s my job. And my big question is why Aubameyang hasn’t played striker a single time under his watch.
Even when it came time to bench Alexandre Lacazette, Arteta gave the nod to Eddie Nketiah. That, in isolation, isn’t a big deal. I love seeing Eddie get a chance. But the fact that Aubameyang hasn’t even set foot at striker since the takeover makes me think that there is no intention of him doing so from here on out.
That’s where my question comes into this—isn’t it a silly waste of resources to not let your best striker play striker?
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Granted, Aubameyang has some use on the wings. He’s fast, for instance. But that’s about as far as his use out there goes. He doesn’t have a subtle or clever touch. He isn’t particularly good with deliveries. Personally, I would rather see Nicolas Pepe and Gabriel Martinelli/Bukayo Saka start in the two wing spots, with Aubameyang up top.
But then again, I’m not Mikel Arteta.
Again, I get the experimentation part of this. Starting Aubameyang as his natural role is worthy of an experiment though, isn’t it? Especially considering we may be selling him this summer, and we really need to be putting our best foot forward to get into the Champions League.
Also, consider that the goal he scored against Newcastle was very much a striker’s goal. He was in a striker’s position and headed home. Even as a winger, he’s a striker. Which I guess is the benefit, but let’s be real, he isn’t always able to get into the striker role as a winger.
Without wanting to complain too much after a positive result and yet another clean sheet, I do have to wonder why Aubameyang isn’t being given his chance to remind us why he’s considered one of the best strikers in the world