Arsenal’s attack has mustered just one goal in two matches since returning, so with that in mind, when does Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang hit the bench?
Arsenal‘s attack looked brilliant against Brighton. They were flowing and linking and putting together some serious attacking threat. The only problem was… they weren’t scoring any goals. Which, spoiler alert, is the whole point of an attack in the first place. Unfortunately, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang hasn’t been a big help.
Aubameyang took seven shots against Brighton and none of them found the back of the net. Meanwhile, Nicolas Pepe took just one and it was all he needed. While Aubameyang is far from the worst offender, with so much competition across so few spots, the question has to be asked—when do you bench him?
Mikel Arteta has been incredibly liberal with moving things around in the attack. Thus far into the restart, Aubameyang is the only attacker who hasn’t ended up on the bench other than Bukayo Saka. And while Gabriel Martinelli was a question for awhile, now that’s he out for the year there’s no point asking any more.
Right now, if you want to talk about moving Aubameyang to the side, you could run with Bukayo Saka on the left. With Saka already floating around the starting XI, Pepe hopefully embedded on the right, and the striker situation rotating between Lacazette and Nketiah, there’s still plenty of attacking strength there.
Lacazette and Nketiah have been splitting time during Lacazette’s struggles and it’s only fair to think that Aubameyang’s struggles shouldn’t be met with silence. I mean, even Pepe got benched for Saka against City and Pepe is our best goal producer on the season.
This argument got a lot weaker with the injury to Martinelli, but there is still strength in a Pepe/Saka winger duo with Nketiah up front. Again, the big takeaway from this is that Arteta has been quick to hook anyone that isn’t delivering immediate results and right now, that includes Aubameyang.
Another thing to consider is that Aubameyang might need the shakeup himself. He may need the benefit of coming on late in a match against a tired defense. Something to get him off the snide as well.
Maybe this doesn’t come against Southampton. Maybe he gets another shot. But if he can’t manage to find the goal in this one, you have to think about alternatives. We have other attacking options that can be called on.