Soccer

Arteta’s challenge to Aubameyang as Arsenal goalscoring woes continue

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang needs to be more spontaneous to banish his blues in front of goal.

That’s the message from Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta as his skipper – and normally deadly hitman continues to fire blanks.

Aubameyang has scored just twice in the Premier League this season – one in the opening day win at Fulham, the other from the penalty spot in last month’s 1-0 victory at Manchester United.

That return is as poor as any produced during his prolific career – both in Germany with Borussia Dortmund and for the past two years at Arsenal.

Arteta, though, is adamant that Aubamayeng is one off-the-cuff blast from rediscovering the knack of finding the net regularly.

And he believes that will come once the £55million Gabon ace gets back to the basics that always made him one of the most feared forwards on the planet.

The Emirates chief, whose strugglers host Burnley on Sunday, admitted: “Sometimes, it’s how much you think. With strikers like Auba that has to be in a natural way.

“He doesn’t need to think. The action is there, he makes the choice in the right moment, with the correct foot, and puts the ball where it needs to be.

“Sometimes, when you are in this sort of spell, you overthink a bit. So you have to let that flow go because this is something he’s done in his whole career.

"There is nothing we can teach him to do differently to what he’s done in the past.”

Arteta, however, did reveal everyone is working overtime to dig Aubamayeng out of his current slump, including a detailed analysis of past goals.

The Spaniard added: “Individually, we’re doing a lot to see where he scores his goals, how they get provided, the areas he needs to attack, and the type of finishes he is efficient with.

“When you have a player in this spell, you need others to step up. The problem is when there's two, three or four players in the same way, it becomes unattainable.

“So you need someone there to help him. Then things come more naturally because the pressure is less.“

The pressure is certainly not easing on Arteta just now

Yes, the North Londoners are in the EFL Cup last eight and through to the Europa League knockout stages.

However, they were sitting 15th in the league table coming into the weekend, with the alarm bells ringing.

And, with such a glaring lack of creativity up front, the absence of German outcast Mesut Ozil becomes more conspicuous with each setback.

Arteta accepts that is inevitable when his team are not fulfilling expectations – yet is convinced he can handle the flak flying his way.

The ex-Arsenal and Everton midfielder, 38, said: “When you make decisions like this, there’ll only be positives if the results are positive.

“The moment there’s a negative result, it becomes the wrong decision. But I was aware that would happen from day one.

“I feel the pressure every day in the job because I know the demands of this huge club. But I cannot be more energised or passionate about the dream I want to build here.

“But we know we need results to keep evolving the way we want to do it.”

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