If Arsenal sell Aubameyang they could be in serious trouble

Recent reports have suggested that Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang could be sold in the summer, and this isn’t just fabricated given that the player is delaying signing a new contract.

Losing Aubameyang would be a huge blow to the Gunners. He has been the difference on so many occasions for the club. It has been an incredibly difficult season for Arsenal which has seen the club flirting with 10th position for long periods. However one has to wonder without his goals if Arsenal would be in the bottom half of the table?

In a difficult period for the club, which in truth has been for the last five years or so, Aubameyang is their one true stardust player, a striker that can make almost anything happen and does the most important of jobs, getting those goals. Of course he isn’t perfect and it is his huge missed chance that resulted in Arsenal being knocked out of the Europa League against Olympiacos a few weeks ago. But maybe the bigger picture shouldn’t just be highlighted on him and could be turned to the overall clubs performance in that 2nd leg.

In all competitions for Arsenal Aubameyang has scored 61 goals from 96 games which is a great return and he has scored 17 goals from 25 league games. Last season he was the joint top scorer in England with 22 goals. Arsenal have scored 40 goals in the league this season and Aubameyang has 17 and assisted in one other. That means he has been involved in 18 of their 40 goals which accounts for 45% of all of their league goals so far this season.

This is the reason that Arsenal losing the player will hurt them. Of course he is now 30 and it has been traditional for Arsenal in past seasons to give out only rolling contracts for players who are 30 or over. The problem with that is it is outdated. Players are fitter now and can last much longer. Aubameyang isn’t going to suddenly lose his quality and has at least four to five years still at the top.

However it may not boil down to Arsenal’s choice even if they do want to keep the player. At the end of the day he has kept delaying signing a contract and one can believe that the main reason is to see if the Gunners qualify for next seasons Champions League. The problem is that they are currently 3 wins from that and have too many teams between them and 4th.

The other problem is that Barcelona have come knocking. Currently they have had to panic buy through a shortage of strikers and bring in Martin Braithwaite. If they could get Aubameyang that would represent quite a capture. Though they don’t like Arsenal’s asking price of £50m, in this current climate and with the brilliant form that the player has been in that price looks like a steal.

Where ever Aubameyang ends up next season, sadly for Arsenal it doesn’t look like he will be playing with them and the club are going to have to have a very successful summer transfer window and bring in the right kind of players to feel this loss. Right now Aubameyang is keeping Arsenal afloat.

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Has the 4-0 victory over Newcastle green lit Arsenal’s season?

There are always turning points good and bad in football and one senses that Arsenal’s 4-0 win over Newcastle United at the weekend could just be the turning point that Arsenal have been looking for all season.

Arsenal don’t win games 4-0 anymore, in fact they don’t win many games at all. Currently they have 13 draws and this game against the Magpies looked like it would be number 14- and that was if they were lucky.

In truth it was a first half mostly dominated by the away team, who created very good chances and the likes of Allan Saint-Maximin and Joelinton looked very lively. Arsenal looked confused at home and woeful. The first half ended 0-0 and never felt not for one moment that Arsenal would score 4 goals in the second half. But they did.

A lot of that is down to manager Mikel Arteta’s half time talk, and it was interesting how he was able to identify the clubs positives and Newcastle’s weaknesses. Arsenal came out firing on all cylinders and it was the chasing down of the ball and the intensity that they showed right off the bat that won the game for them. Indeed they had started the match this way, and then were huffing and puffing with no ideas after five minutes. But the club in the second half looked a completely different side.

The Gunners are so very lucky to have Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as a striker- how many times has he got the club out of trouble when the chips have been down? And they have been down for so long. But Aubameyang keeps scoring and keeps hoping and he opened the scoring 9 minutes after the re start. When Nicolas Pepe scored the 2nd goal, three minutes later the game was over, Newcastle’s hearts had left the stadium.

It’s true that goals number 3 and 4 put a shine over a game that felt like a 2-0 victory but at the end of the day goals and wins bring confidence to a team. That was only Arteta’s 2nd win in 8 games, although he has only lost one so far.

The question now being posed is is this the beginning of a strong run for Arsenal now, who could still claim a good position. After Manchester City were banned by UEFA in participating in the Champions League, 5th place would now be up for grabs, pending their appeal. If so Arsenal are only six points from that target. With clubs ranked 4th-9th not being consistent enough, Arsenal really could make a charge and a statement and what a comeback it would for the club who have remained around 10th place for much of the season.

What is interesting is taking a look at the clubs upcoming fixtures. Their next game will be tough but they will be at home to Everton. They then have another home match against West Ham. There are trips to both Brighton and Southampton followed by a home match against Norwich and a trip to Wolves before returning home to face Leicester. All of those games look like Arsenal could get points in. Their biggest problem is projecting their home form over to their away form, where they have really struggled not just this season but for the past 3 at least.

Take out the Leicester game though and Arsenal won’t face a top 6 side until the end of April when they play Tottenham away. In May they will play Liverpool, but again all of their opponents now will not be classed as the biggest teams in the league. Still Arsenal have struggled against them anyway this season.

But surely scoring 4 goals in one game has given the club a lift and taken away that dark cloud that has hung over the Emirates since August. Is this the moment that Arteta makes a name for himself and the talented Arsenal players step up to the plate, or was it just a convenient speed bump on the road to a mediocre season?

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Have draws saved Arsenal from relegation?

Draws can only take you so far in football and if you were to draw every single game of the season you’d probably finish 18th and still go down. But they seemed to have saved Arsenal in this one.

Arsenal have drawn a huge number of games this season, it has been 13 so far. Only Wolves come close with 11. If we take 13 points away from the club they would be left with 18 points and would be 19th based on goal difference and a huge 7 points from safety with 13 games remaining. This is a shocking statement to make about Arsenal who are surely one of the great clubs of English football and certainly one of the most successful. But this season has been a gigantic step backwards for the club, who, in truth, have been going backwards for some time.

Of course the other argument of the Gunners drawing games is that those could have been wins and if they were the club would now be on 57 point and be 2nd in the table. But let’s not fool ourselves and this is meant with all due respect to a great club but Arsenal have mostly looked like losing the games they drew this season and there has been countless times when the club have been leading a game only to be over run in the second half and outplayed and then getting pegged back. In no way shape or form are Arsenal better than the 31 points they have so far this season.

The club have won just 6 games this season, an amount they had reached by the end of September when they went the season unbeaten in 2003/04 and those six games represent a return of  a 24% win rate. Even if we leave out Liverpool who are having an amazing season and look at Manchester City in 2nd, City have a win rate by comparison of 64%. Chelsea in 4th have managed 48%, and even West Ham in 18th have the same win rate as the Gunners.

Arsenal are also on target though presumably not on purpose to achieve the most draws in a Premier League season. Currently it is held by 3 clubs: Newcastle, Aston Villa and Sunderland who have 17 draws in a 38 game season. Arsenal just need 4 more to equal that record.

Points wise if Arsenal continue like they have they will be very lucky to reach 50 points which would be one of their worst seasons in a generation. Can Mikel Arteta turn the clubs fortunes around? On the evidence we have seen in the 6 weeks he has been at the club he could but it looks to be a very long road ahead for Arsenal.

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Arsenal record their 13th draw of the season and leave fans very frustrated

Arsenal drew 0-0 away to Burnley to move up from 12th to 10th in the league. It was the clubs 13th draw this season. The Premier League record from 38 games is 17 and the Gunners are well on course to equal or even beat this.

It was another disappointing result for Arsenal who have struggled to win games. Just 2 now from their last 17. Of course it depends on how you view results but new manager Mikel Arteta has oversaw just 1 league win from 7 games. Of course he has only lost one also, which came against Chelsea in a game which could have easily have finished as another draw.

Whilst draws have been the difference between fighting relegation, draws do not challenge for European positions either and this has clearly been Arsenal’s worst season in 35 years. Had those draws been losses Arsenal would currently be in 19th place with 19 points. And, had they been converted to wins they would be in 4th place with 43 points. Truth is though this Arsenal side have been average to poor as we have seen them take the lead in games only to be pegged back.

Against Burnley they couldn’t manage a goal which was unfortunate for the club as they welcomed back prolific striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The player had missed the last 3 games through suspension after he was sent off earlier in the month.

Whilst Arsenal did show promise against Burnley they only managed 2 shots on target, as did the home side. But this is clearly not the Arsenal of old and one wonders what Arteta will do with much of this squad in the summer? Is it time to sell the bulk of the team? Would that simply be panicking? Or is it true that most of the starting eleven, whilst good players simply can’t cut it at Arsenal who should be a team aiming for at least the top 6. The Gunners have been going back for a few years now and this season looks like the end result.

They will enjoy a two week break now and the luck of the draw means that their next 3 Premier League matches will be at home. They will be against Newcastle, Everton and West Ham. Also the club won’t play a so called big name club again until the end of April when they take on Tottenham in the London derby.

Fans have been left very frustrated and even angry at the clubs results. Arteta needs time and respect but his tenure has hardly started well. Too many draws feel like they are glossing over the bigger picture. The only thing to give the fans hope will be a good end to the season and trying to finish in a respectable place, namely the top 6 has to be Arteta’s objective, they are currently 5 points from that target.

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What next for Arteta and Arsenal?

The latest three consecutive draws have just cemented that feeling of ‘meh’ around Arsenal’s 2019/20 season.

Having finished fifth – just one point off a Champions League spot in last season’s Premier League – many Gunners fans could be forgiven for having some optimism going into the current campaign. However, an early-season 3-1 defeat at Anfield seemed to just throw a spanner in the works for then-manager Unai Emery.

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Without Aubameyang Arsenal look like a very ordinary team

When Paul Tierney produced the red card which sent off Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang last weekend, Arsenal hearts would have sunk. The former Borussia Dortmund player has been far and away the most influential figure at the club in what has become a difficult couple of seasons for the Gunners.

When Aubameyang plays he usually scores and when he scores Arsenal usually walk away with points.

The challenge was a red card indeed, a foot above the players ankle and there is little doubt that Tierney gave the correct decision. With it being a straight red card it means that Aubameyang will miss 3 games in a row for the club. That starts this weekend when Arsenal take on Sheffield United at home. Aubameyang will also miss the game away to Chelsea at the end of the month and the 4th FA Cup tie at Bournemouth.

Aubameyang has been on so many occasions Arsenal’s one bright light, a genuine star for a club that used to have 11 on the pitch. This season he has scored 14 goals just under 50% of all of Arsenal’s league goals. He is on course to beat his personal league best of 22 goals which he recorded last season and in all competitions he has 57 goals from 91 appearances. A great return.

One could wonder where Arsenal would be in the league without the player and without his goals? Alexandre Lacazette and Nicolas Pepe have not cut it in terms of goals and it’s fair to say without Aubameyang’s contribution Arsenal could well have 10 points less. If this was the case then the Gunners would be in the bottom three.

Mikel Arteta the Arsenal manager was right to say that his players need to step up in reference of Aubameyang missing. The former Arsenal player said: “Players have to step up. You know, when one of your big players is not there, they have to take responsibility. I’m sure when they’re not playing, they want a chance and they talk. It’s time to talk on the pitch, not outside. You come on there, you make the impact that he made and you sure me that you are as good as him or even better. You have the chance.

These were strong and direct words from Arteta who will surely be feeling the pressure after 1 win in his four games in charge of the Gunners, he went on to say. “It’s a big shame and a big loss for us, because as well we know Auba’s intention when he plays. But unfortunately he mistimed the tackle, he made a decision and we have to accept it. Auba has been around, he was very sad after the game. He was disappointed that he left the team with 10 men. It’s an action that is completely accidental in my opinion.”

How will Arsenal fare without the deadly striker? Could it yet be a blessing in disguise as the team are forced to make tactical changes, or will the misery for the club this season deepen? This weekend when they play Sheffield United at the Emirates will reveal that answer.

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Mikel Arteta has stepped into the storm at Arsenal can he prove his worth?

No wins in his first two games does not bode well for Mikel Arteta and one has to wonder if Arteta will be the right man to lead Arsenal forward?

Arteta’s first game in charge of Arsenal ended in a 1-1 draw at Bournemouth. The result was seen as acceptable given that Eddie Howe’s side had taken the lead but at the same time Bournemouth had been in very bad form and fallen in the league, this could have been an opportunity to beat them.

That match was followed up by the recent Chelsea game. A grudge London derby match was not what Arteta and Arsenal needed right now. But the club played good football and took the lead through the excellent Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and everything seemed like it was going well. Even with five minutes remaining one could see Arsenal winning the game. Although there was the niggling thought that despite good play the Gunners had only had 2 shots on target and this was a home game.

And then it happened, Bernd Leno made a shocking error and Chelsea scored not one but two goals in the last few minutes to snatch the win. Perhaps a draw would have been the fair result as this was a game of two halves but Arsenal had lost again.

Arteta then has started with 1 draw and one loss and it is clearly too early to judge him yet. However the modern game has turned cruel at times and if Arsenal have not picked up and changed in a months time he will be judged by some.

Have the Arsenal board made the right decision and what is expected of Arteta this season? Well Arteta was one of the leading favourites to be appointed as Arsenal manager after Arsene Wenger had left the club after 22 years but instead the board chose Unai Emery, on paper that seemed like a fair choice. The board have now gone for Arteta, but again on what grounds?

Arteta has no top flight managerial experience however the one card he does have up his sleeve is that he has been Pep Guardiola’s assistant at Manchester City in the last few years and has stuck to the former Barcelona legend like glue. But surely management of your own team and making those decisions is quite a different job altogether? When one looks at the fact that Everton were able to lure Carlo Ancelotti one of the most decorated managers of the past 20 years and Arsenal make do with Arteta, one also wonders just how far the Gunners expectations have fallen.

Of course let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. Arteta could well end up being a brilliant manager, but maybe Arsenal needed that experience and quality now and not to flourish slowly in the next few years. With the exception of Chelsea hiring Frank Lampard most big clubs go with experience. The other worrying aspect is that with new managers usually come the results. Look at Ancelotti at Everton and Nigel Pearson at Watford.

Arsenal are now 11 points from a top 4 position and it is quite clear that this season is a near write off in terms of the league. There are simply too many points and too many positions in between the clubs, and this league has been fiercely competitive this season.

Arteta’s objective is too surely get the club winning games again and make coming to the Emirates a fortress. The confidence factor has to be reversed. So forget league positions and cups, the priority has to be making Arsenal what Arsenal have been for the past 20 years, a very good attacking club.

On the little evidence that we have seen Arteta is in for a major job, and one has to wonder if he has been thrown in at the deep end? On New Year’s Day Arsenal will face Manchester United to begin their first game of a new decade, good luck Mikel, you will need it.

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Pep Guardiola is set to make a massive mistake letting Arteta leave Manchester City

Manchester City are furious that Arsenal have held talks with their No.2. Mikel Arteta about Arteta becoming Arsenal’s next manager and so they should.

The problem for City is that they understand Arteta’s desire to be a full time manager- he can’t stay under Pep Guardiola’s wing much longer. But it has been the way that Arsenal has conducted themselves. According to City, Arsenal have made no formal contact with the club over Arteta but have spoken to the Spaniard. Photographers captured Arsenal’s board leaving Arteta’s home very late in the night and it almost seems a given now that Arteta will be Arsenal’s new manager.

Whilst City will not stand in the way of his ambition one has to wonder why Guardiola has not spoken out about this? Just watching any of City’s matches over the past few seasons there has been Arteta right by Guardiola’s side, it seems that Pep needs him and it seems odd that he is just willing for his right hand man to leave halfway into the season.

One could rightly point out that City’s title chances have all but evaporated being 14 points behind Liverpool but there is still the navigation of the Champions League coming up, something that Guardiola wants more than anything. Will losing Arteta’s input and let’s face it a friend at this stage of the season harm Guardiola’s thinking? It is worth a thought.

It just feels that Guardiola is having too much of a shift with his close knit team in the middle of a gruelling and testing season. Had this happened in the summer it would have given him some time to think, but it happening now makes little sense.

One wonders if the change is going to come back to haunt City? The league looks over but Guardiola really wants the Champions League. His own time at City will be winding down soon with many believing that he could leave the club next season. If City don’t win the Champions League it would be two clubs now in a row where Guardiola hasn’t won it and he hasn’t won the competition since 2011 with Barcelona.

In short Guardiola is losing reliable quality. First it was fearless club captain Vincent Kompany, then some key injuries took hold and now it is Mikel Arteta to Arsenal. The cards seem to be falling and it will take every bit of Guardiola’s professionalism and experience to get through this time unscathed.

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