After being dropped from the Arsenal starting lineup to face Tottenham due to a lack of punctuality, is it time to truly question Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s captaincy?
It’s debatable whether he should have even been given the captaincy in the first place as it certainly wasn’t earned on merit. It looked to be a move of desperation from Unai Emery after Granit Xhaka’s outburst against Crystal Palace a couple of weeks prior. As there were no natural leaders to replace Xhaka at the time, the role was entrusted to our top performer even though he exuded outstanding captaincy characteristics.
Since then the decision to give Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang the armband hasn’t been justified. We haven’t seen any traits displayed by him that should come with wearing the armband. No leadership on the pitch or visible passion, anonymous in games where the trusted senior professionals need to step and consistent dodging of the media whenever Arsenal lose does not emit captain-like emotions.
Let’s not forget the dreadful pre-match interview before the reverse North London Derby in December where Aubameyang looked grossly uninterested, resembling a man who had just been told his house had burnt down. Also in need of consideration is that 31-year-old has declined massively this season – albeit with a recent return to form. Is the responsibility of the armband weighing too heavy?
Time to question Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s Arsenal captaincy after disciplinary issue before Tottenham victory
Unable to stick to simple timekeeping (it isn’t the first issue this season), such actions are not what supporters demand from an Arsenal captain on the eve of a fixture of that magnitude. Legendary figures such as Tony Adams, Frank McLintock and Patrick Vieira, all men who were proud to wear the Arsenal armband, wouldn’t have been guilty of a similar misdemeanour.
A change of captaincy needs to be high on Mikel Arteta’s agenda heading into next season, even if Aubameyang remains at Arsenal beyond the summer, which he obviously will. Across the team there has been an increase in leadership, with David Luiz and even Xhaka mentioned as the main voices within the dressing room – those who the younger players seem to gravitate too.
One long-term candidate and someone who has displayed every trait – leading by vocality, example and will never hide his face – is Kieran Tierney. He would certainly be a popular choice and, in my opinion, it is better to have a captain of the team to be a member of the back five where they can be a surveyor of the game.
There have been no hints from Arteta that Aubameyang will lose the captaincy after his recent actions, but I hope it’s something that is on his mind – not least as he used to be the captain and knows how one should conduct himself in north London.
Aubameyang will, rightly, go down as one of the best forwards of the Emirates era. Unfortunately, he will also go down as one of the worst captains.