Football

Aubameyang’s lack of goals for Arsenal is Arteta’s ‘biggest concern’

The Gabon star was more lively in the final third but once again failed to find the back of the net

Mikel Arteta is determined to rouse Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from his scoring slump after the Arsenal captain continued to fire blanks in the Premier League defeat to Wolves.

Arsenal head coach Arteta said Aubameyang’s form is his “biggest concern”, pointing to how important the Gabon international’s goals have been to the Gunners, who lost 2-1 at home to Wolves on Sunday .

Aubameyang took five shots and had nine touches in the opposition penalty area against Wolves – both personal highs for the season – but only one of those shots was on target.

The 31-year-old has not scored in open play in the Premier League since Arsenal began their campaign by easing past Fulham 3-0 at Craven Cottage in September.

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Aubameyang’s penalty allowed Arsenal to beat Manchester United at the start of November, but the familiar dependable flow of goals from the former Borussia Dortmund star has been stemmed this season.

Asked if he was worried, Arteta said: “I think we all are because the main goalscorer of the club at the moment isn’t scoring goals, so my biggest concern is how to help him more to score goals because we need his goals.

“How important Auba has been for this club in the last two years and how the goal sheet has been shared among the squad tells you his importance.

“He needs to be scoring goals if we want to be successful.”

Aubameyang scored 22 of Arsenal’s 73 goals in the 2018-19 season as they finished fifth in the Premier League, then fired another 22 from a meagre 56 Gunners goals as they trailed home eighth last term.

Arteta will want goals to come from all areas of his team, but the reality is that they have been reliant on Aubameyang’s consistency in recent seasons, and with his input declining the team are struggling.

Arsenal sit 14th in the Premier League with 13 points from 10 games, having lost three successive home games in the competition, and are eight points behind the leaders, who happen to be their north London rivals Tottenham.

The points tally is their lowest from the first 10 games of a campaign since a slow start in 1981 , when Arsenal mustered a mere 12 points from their opening 11 matches before winning six in a row.

Arsenal travel to Tottenham on Sunday, and to get the better of Jose Mourinho’s side they may need Aubameyang to rediscover his shooting prowess.

If Arsenal need any reminder of how a line-leading striker can perform for his team, they need look no further than Tottenham’s Harry Kane, whose league-high 16 goal involvements (seven goals, nine assists) have helped Spurs edge ahead of champions Liverpool on goal difference at the summit.

Aubameyang’s two goals and one assist is a meagre return, given he has started every game, with his minutes-per-goal average declining from one every 142.64 last season to a dismal one every 448.5 this term.

Tottenham’s Son Heung-min, who has netted nine times in the Premier League this term, has got those at one every 91.22 minutes, with Kane not far behind with a goal every 127.71 minutes.

With an off-key Aubameyang, it could make for a grim derby day for Arteta.

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