This article is part of Football FanCast’s In Numbers series, which takes a statistical look at performances, season-long form and reported transfer targets…
The joint-winner of the Premier League’s Golden Boot award last season, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been an undeniable success for Arsenal since signing from Borussia Dortmund back in January 2018. The Gabon international has been a prolific goal-scorer for the Gunners, finding the back of the net 50 times in 80 appearances across all competitions.
He has been one of the best poachers in European football for a number of years, and has been similarly prolific this season too. He has already netted nine times in 15 games, but there is a serious question mark over whether he can be more than just a goal-scorer. Against Southampton on Saturday afternoon, the 30-year-old arguably showed some of the more negative aspects to his style of play – the lack of an all-around game to compliment his incredible finishing abilities.
With Southampton understandably sitting deep and trying to play on the counter-attack – a tactic that yielded them 21 total shots on goal despite only having 39% of the possession – Aubameyang wasn’t able to exploit his searing pace as is his main strength. The striker was forced to play a far different game to one he may have wanted to, and unfortunately for both him and Arsenal, he struggled to do so.
As per Sofascore, his 6.3 match rating was the joint-worst of any Arsenal player who took to the pitch, and when looking at his under-lying numbers it is easy to see why. Crucially for the Gunners, he missed one big chance, whilst his inability to get involved in the build-up play meant he was starved of any real service. He had a measly 38 touches, which was the fewest of any member of the north London side who started the game.
Unai Emery’s side desperately needed a centre-forward who could play with his back to goal, and engage some of his midfield teammates like Mesut Ozil. Instead, he couldn’t impose himself on the Southampton defence, and the Arsenal captain was virtually anonymous over the 90 minutes. The Gunners’ defending may once again be the talking point considering how many shots they conceded, but that shouldn’t disguise the fact that one of their star men had a real afternoon to forget.
Meanwhile, Martin Keown has suggested Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang would be the only player to make Arsene Wenger’s most successful sides.