Arsenal saw a masterclass from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, which is just a casual reminder that when he’s inspired, no one’s better.
All year long, we’ve been talking about Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang winning his second Golden Boot in a row. Or sharing it, at the very least. But the Arsenal man tapered off in the last few matches of the season and entered the final match against Watford needing a hat trick and zilch from Jamie Vardy to even share the Golden Boot.
A penalty in the third minute and a tremendous half-bicycle in at the half-hour mark (not to mention the assist just prior) proved that while many had counted the Golden Boot race for over, Aubameyang had not.
It wasn’t just the goals, though. Aubameyang was an inspired performer throughout the course of the match. His runs were spot-on, his involvement was pristine. I’ve never seen Aubameyang more integrated into the general flow of the attack.
Normally he’ll just pop up, score a goal, and fade away. Which would have been just fine here, but Aubameyang had so much more on his mind.
In the first half alone, he managed 22 touches, just two less than Willock and Lacazette combined. it was the most of any attacker and as many as Kieran Tierney, the other standout performer.
As I said, this was involvement on a different level from Aubameyang, and it’s so obvious why—he was inspired. He had an end goal in mind. He had something he wanted to achieve and it’s been a while since Aubameyang was in a situation like that.
Granted, he’s pretty excellent regardless, but when he’s inspired? Look out. It felt like we were a part of something extraordinary, and we were, even if he didn’t get there in the end. It also felt eerily reminiscent of last year, when Nketiah also set him up to win the Golden Boot but he was unable to connect.
Still, it was an inspired performance without a doubt, and with the increased hints that he could indeed stay, there’s reason to believe.
Whatever might or might not have happened. this was an Aubameyang performance to remember. The kind of performance that may convince a club that maybe they would like this guy for another three years, not just two.
If that really is the hang-up, then Aubameyang gave himself the upper hand with this performance. Give him something to fight for and he changes the face of the match.