A defining season for Arsenal’s talisman Captain
In December 2019, most would have not bet on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang signing a new contract. The striker had a year and a half left on his current deal and Arsenal were a mess. After Manchester City had beat them 0-3 in what looked like a training game for Pep Guardiola’s side at the Emirates, Arsenal had just one win in their last 12 games. Unai Emery had been sacked, leaving Freddie Ljungberg with only Per Mertesacker, Academy Manager, for help on the touchline. At a point when things seemed they were at their very worst, Arsenal got their man. Mikel Arteta rejoined the club as Head-Coach on December 20th, and Arsenal and Aubameyang haven’t looked back since.
Arteta has made Aubameyang his main man. The striker kept the armband and his performance levels have gone through the roof. A point many made last season was a lack of presence in big games. The Europa League final was largely unaffected by Aubameyang and Arsenal lost. Those claims were undoubtedly put to bed however, with four terrific goals in the FA cup Semi and Final. The Final played against a familiar foe in Chelsea and revenge for the previous year’s final in Baku was delivered sweetly via a perfectly executed left-footed dink that sailed over Willy Caballero and into the far corner.
Aubameyang has been instrumental on the pitch for Arsenal, but his influence off it is vital too. In the dressing room he is the guy making everybody laugh but when it’s time to work, Aubameyang’s fitness is nothing to be laughed at. The Gabon has missed 9 games through individual injuries never exceeding a week in his professional career, explaining how he is 31, yet still constantly improving and playing. His impeccable fitness record sets an example for everyone at the club, and in particular, the young players.
Bukayo Saka, Eddie Nketiah, Gabriel Martinelli and others have all enjoyed bright seasons and there is no doubt of Aubameyang’s influence in training. All speak very warmly of him and his personality.
On 16th September, Arsenal announced Aubameyang has committed his future to Arsenal. The striker spoke of wanting to become an Arsenal legend and leave a legacy. If he continues to score at his current rate, there is no doubt that will be the case. Arteta has kept his main man and can now build his Arsenal team around him. In the last decade, players like Robin Van Persie, Alexis Sanchez and Cesc Fabregas all left Arsenal searching for something more. That theme changes now. Arsenal’s captain has invested his future in Arsenal and suddenly, that future seems incredibly bright.