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Player Analysis: Aubameyang vs Chelsea at Wembley, the epitome of a Captain’s Performance

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Ever since Aubameyang’s arrival in North London, the 31-year old has been the Gunners main source of goals, scoring 70 times and providing 15 assists in 109 games (the most of any Premier League player since his debut) which is even more impressive considering the dysfunctional and inconsistent nature of our current team, coupled with the fact that we have been without a creative source in the midfield for the majority of the season.

Regardless of how the rest of his teammates have performed he has always seemed to come up with the goods, whether he’s been playing on the left or through the middle his ability to find the back of the net has been incredibly consistent, proving it once again in this campaign as he finished one goal off the Golden Boot (22), while notching 29 in all competitions.

Aubameyang has the most goals in all competitions since his debut for Arsenal (Credit: Squawka Football)

Record in big games

  • 4 G/A vs Spurs
  • 3 G/A vs Chelsea
  • 3 G/A vs Manchester United
  • 2 G/A vs Manchester City
  • 1 G/A vs Liverpool
  • 3 G/A in the Europa League Quarter-Final
  • 5 G/A in the Europa League Semi-Final
  • 2 G/A in the FA Cup Semi-Final
  • 2 G/A in the FA Cup Final
Aubameyang holding the FA Cup after his match winning brace

Despite his stats, many Arsenal fans feel he hasn’t been shown the respect his performances have warranted, mainly by pundits and rival supporters as they claim he doesn’t show up in the big games and be the difference for Arsenal when the chips are down. However, this season especially, Aubameyang has massively stepped up to the plate with his most recent performance totally debunking this theory, as he was named MOTM in Arsenal’s 2-1 triumph over Chelsea in the FA Cup Final.

As you can see below, Aubameyang was far and away the most influential player on the pitch during Saturday’s Final, putting in the definition of a captain’s performance, dragging Arsenal back into the game after going behind very early on. The strikers relentless running in behind caused the Chelsea defence all sorts of problems, more notably for Cesar Azpilicueta who was struggling to keep up with Aubameyang’s electric pace before he unfortunately came off injured, resulting in the Spaniard pulling him down in the area to gift Arsenal a route back into the game. Even in the most pressurised of circumstances, our star man stepped up with confidence and dispatched his spot kick with ease, which turned out to be the pivotal moment in terms of inspiring a comeback.

Aubameyang’s stats vs Chelsea (Credit: SofaScore)

Another aspect of Aubameyang’s game that has improved drastically since Arteta’s appointment is his work rate, especially in a defensive sense. This was on show for everyone to see at Wembley, as he was disciplined when we weren’t in possession, keeping his shape and pressing the Chelsea back line at the correct times to force them into mistakes. His heat map supports this argument, as it shows him dropping deep to help out Maitland-Niles and then getting into the box where he can effect the game in an attacking sense when we were on the counter. The 31-year olds physical stats this season have been nothing short of sensational, with him showing no signs of slowing down with age, with Arsenal’s current style of counter attacking football helping him thrive in front of goal as he has the engine to pounce on any crosses coming into the the box.

Perhaps the most interesting stat from this display is the fact he only had 34 touches throughout the 90 minutes, which is mainly due to Chelsea dominating the ball for large periods of the game. Especially in the second half, we struggled to control the game in a way that Arteta would have wanted meaning nobody was able to have untold amounts of touches and time on the ball, however I see this as another major quality that Aubameyang possess.

It proves his mental attitude and steel to stay switched on without being involved in every aspect of our game, and in my opinion is one of the main reasons which separates him from being a very good player to being world class. Other players may have panicked when in the same situation as him or snatched at their opportunity as it was his only real chance of the second half, reinforcing the fact that he is one of the most clinical players in world football and why we should be doing everything in our power to keep a hold of him.

The match winning moment emphasised everything Aubameyang is about, as his unrivalled movement allowed him to float in behind their defence, pick up the ball in the area and glide past Zouma as if he wasn’t there, before dinking it over the onrushing Willy Cabellero with his weaker foot. It was a goal worthy of winning any cup final and summed up not only his performance on Saturday, but him as a player. World Class.

Final Thoughts

Overall, I feel Aubameyang’s record in big matches for Arsenal is massively overlooked and it has improved a lot in terms of goals and assists this season especially. It could be argued that this is down to Arteta’s tactics and change of mentality for the games against the top 6, as previously under Emery we tried to go toe-to-toe with the opposition and as a result was starved of possession, meaning our front three were extremely isolated and found it difficult to get into the game.

However, as we have seen recently against Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea Arteta has found a system which allows Aubameyang to shine in fixtures like this, by playing quick counter attacking football which as a result gives him more touches in and around the box (the area that he is most effective) hence why we have seen a spike in goal contributions. Going forward, it is vital that we get Aubameyang signed up to a new contract as his goals will be near on impossible to replace, with Saturday’s victory hopefully going a long way in convincing him Arteta is in the process of building something special at Arsenal.

 

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