Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Arteta: Auba in the middle? That’s very possible…

In light of Arsenal’s struggles in front of goal this season, there has been a big clamour for Mikel Arteta to deploy Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the centre of his attack.

To date, the Spaniard has preferred to start his captain – the club’s top scorer in the last two seasons – on the left flank with Eddie Nketiah, Alex Lacazette, and even Willian, preferred in the middle.

The decision has proved a bit of a head-scratcher to supporters who are struggling to understand why a striker with such a prolific record in front of goal isn’t given the chance to lead the line.

While Arteta isn’t ruling it out, he maintains that he’ll adapt his selections and tactics based on the opposition.

“Yes, that’s a very possible thing,” he replied when asked if he’s tempted to move the Gabon international into a central role.

“It will depend on the games, it will depend on who he’s surrounded with. I think it’s very important to see who is around him and why we’re doing it. Not just the fact we’re doing it, why we’re doing that and what we’re going to get by doing these positive things. Of course, there’s a very strong possibility to play him as a [number] 9.”

While Aubameyang has found the net three times this season, he’s currently on a five-game streak without a goal in the Premier League. It’s a worry, especially as his shot count is also suffering. 

Asked if the striker is suffering from a lack of confidence and if there’s anything he can do to rectify that, Arteta said: “If you ask me about any other player I’d say we have to do a lot of work with his confidence. With Auba, I don’t think it’s a case of that.”

He also reiterated that helping Aubameyang score is a collective effort.

“From our side we have to give him more opportunities, more shots, put him in better positions,” he said. “We must try to accumulate more players around him to create better situations for him and he has to step in as well. When that happens, he has the right opportunity.

“In these games you’re not going to have 10 [opportunities] playing against a low block, you have to make it happen like he did a week ago in the Europa League [against Rapid Vienna].

“He’s so used to that, teams pay a lot of attention to him, that’s why sometimes we have to change the positions because every team is going to be preparing things to stop him.

“We have to bear that in mind so we have to distract the opponent other positions, other movement, other relationships in the pitch. We try to accommodate him without losing him in the position that he’s clinical.”

Related articles



newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Tinkerbell is at it again! Hopefully it works and sticks

Johnny 4 Hats

Did anyone see this article?


The implication being that Edu chose Partey over Aouar against Mikel’s opinion. Seems like a pretty dumb move on Edu’s part given that Arteta is the manager and knows what he wants from his squad.

Looking extra poor judgement post Leicester.

Johnny 4 Hats

The way he deployed Partey against Leicester was a job that Momo could easily have done. But perhaps, given it was his premier league debut, he wanted to bed him in with a simple enough task.

I think if we are going to push on this season though, we need to hope that Partey can play further forward and be a more driving force in the team. We don’t need another steady Eddie in midfield. We’ve got far too many already.


Eddie is a forward, not midfielder…


Fraudteta out!

Lol… but yeah on a more serious seems we could really use a Kane (forward that can drop deep and create) and a Son (pacey forward always making runs). Also a creative midfielder would be nice.


We do not need anything from Tottenham no give praise to a team that doesn’t win trophies👎👎👎👎


Newxieland out.

carl shadbolt

why do spuds like you love Arsenal so much ??? as you idiots are always on AFC threads not your own… go win something …….

The Arsenal

Arteta’s dealing with a forward (Lacazette) who is a jack of all trades and master of none. Firmino/Kane he is not. He’s not even Giroud.

Artetas Assistant

In addition about Laca, Lazy and unfit (especially mentally because Mikel is still playing him, suggesting he’s fit physically) so doesn’t feel like a monster ready to attack a ball and so now in self pity and low in confidence and self esteem. Piteous

Firmino has never been a natural striker, it’s just not in his instincts. As a player he’s better than Lacazette but as a striker he literally has the same level of output At Hoffenheim, Firmino played like Bergkamp, a no.10 in a shadow striker role. Klopp only insists on playing him at no.9 because he wanted a dynamic forward for a pressing style he didn’t like Origi, Benteke or Sturridge in. Lacazette is arguably not a jack of all trades. His speciality is (or used to be) running in behind, two touch finishing and penalty kicks. These days he’s no… Read more »

SB Still

Although Arteta says its possible and based on the opposition, in all the games he has managed, he has hardly ever put Auba in the middle.

Its a strange one.


I think he will not do it (Auba in the middle) because it’s like saying “Ok. I was wrong since I am an inexperienced manager.”

carl shadbolt

pmsl …. he will when he wants not when you want

Parlour’s Pay Packet

“It will depend on games” – I miss the days where we used to turn up and try to play Barcelona off the park!

In all seriousness, we need to find a way to dominate games playing our style. Emery was too adaptive and concerned with the opposition and I’d hate to see Arteta go down the same road. We are The Arsenal!


Deluded Arsenal fans


Why are you here?…

carl shadbolt

twat…… thats you a twat


Yes u are right about that. But how many goals did Barca score. Let me not talk about Bayern.


I think you mean “the day” we played Barcelona off the park.


The only real long term solution which teams will not so easily counter our tactical trickery with one system of play like Leicester did is to reinforce our attack with more quality. People talk about Ozil, but what we really need is a second goalscoring threat. Even if we moved to 4 at the back to allow an extra midfielder, Laca will still be out of position, until he or another player is more productive infront of goal. Laca has some issue with fitness for 90 minutes in consecutive games. It’s been that way for three managers now. Aouar would… Read more »


Ozil has been mentioned a lot lately but arguably Ramsey has been the biggest loss in midfield. Someone that could score and assist even if they missed half the season injured.

Having said that, I think we should be get a lot more out of Pepe. Getting him firing will be absolutely key. Willian and Saka should also be able to chip in regularly if played in suitable attacking roles.

Bleeding gums murphy

Ramsey averaged 6 goals and 6 assists a season 😂😂😂


Well yeah, exactly, we’d kill for that right now. Imagine if we had a box-to-box midfielder that could do what Ramsey did, but was also able to stay fit over the season rather than only the 25-odd games Ramsey would usually manage.

carl shadbolt

no laca is rubbish nothing to do with fitness ,,, worst striker we have ever had at the club … plays more like a midfielder than striker


Laca’s Prem league stats with us:
2017-2018 Season: 14 Goals 5 Assists
2018-2019 Season: 13 Goals 10 Assists
2019-2020 Season: 10 Goals 6 Assists
This season: 3 Goals and one harshly ruled off side.

Yeah he’s rubbish.


I mean, he’s not been what we need.

But it’s funny how there’s no middle ground nowadays.


Remember we paid 50m for his services

Merlin’s Panini

Worse than Kaba Diawara and Christopher Wreh?

Merlin’s Panini

Yaya Sanogo?


Lord Bendtner?

Turan Yilmazgul

So why did you ditch Ozil… Mr Arteta.
You could of have 2 players for the opponents attention… rather than 1

carl shadbolt

pmsl….. ozil lol really give up you sound like remoaner …..

Merlin’s Panini

Better than sounding like a bigot.


This website needs a system to eliminate any comment related to Özil.


When Ozil was playing, there were many times he wouldn’t even catch the attention of the fans, let alone opponents.

Naked Cygan

I am tired of the BS political words. Let’s see some results on the pitch.


He is a very good speaker,Mikel.

Perry Farrell’s Satellite Partey

Funny, there was so much hate on these boards directed at Emery because of poor communication. Now that we have a clear communicator, we just hate communication?

Turan Yilmazgul

Because we want to see ‘ RESULTS ‘ talking is cheap…

Paul Roberts

IF we had won against Leicester (which we deserved to do) we would be one point off top spot. I think everyone should calm down a bit?

Turan Yilmazgul

Always If’s & Buts… ‘ Deserved ‘… One point off top spot… Facts, we lost & we are 11th on the table with 3 Losses !


But honestly there’s 4 articles of Mikel talking everyday day.

Paul Roberts

All from the same press conference mate.


So Rashford scored a hattrick,so what. It doesnt automatically he will score another 3 goals. Football is not an exact science.
If that were the case AV shd have beaten Leeds. As for Arsenal,if they dont
cover the gaps they will be liable to ship in many goals.
For starters, Arteta shd play like he did in the sf against MC. I know each game is a one off.
If you pressurize the other team and cant score,watch out for the fast breakaway. Thats how Vardy scored so many times against Arsenal

Tankard Gooner

Going by our recent history, constantly inviting pressure to spring that one off attack is going to end up doing more damage more frequently to our chances of winning games. It works once in a while. Can’t be a blueprint for most games.


Playing Aubameyang in the middle is very probably part of the solution to our attacking problems, but it’s not the cure-all on its own. If we played Auba central and did nothing else, I don’t we’d be any better for it. Rather, we also really need to get more players in support of the attack, especially players in between the opposition defensive lines. More players in dangerous positions can pull defences out of their shape and leave space for other creative players. It also gives us a better chance to score when we do put the ball in the box.… Read more »


Nonsense. Auba’s instincts and movement in the box is light years above Lacazette. Rewatch the first half again from the Leicester game if you don’t believe me, I would honestly back Aubameyng to score two or three before half time. Instead he is putting in crosses from right wing for 5ft10 Laca to get beaten in the air. It is idiotic management, and the major issue we have. I’d argue moving him central is as close to a cure all as you can get. If we go in 2 or 3 nil up at half time, we spend the whole… Read more »


Laca is 5’9.. but he looks a 5’8.
right now he’s playing like he’s 57

The Arsenal

He has looked fat/unfit since that injury just before the spuds game at the emirates last season.




we should only bring him on,on 70′


Lacazette has 3 goals in 5 games tbf. He should have 4, but his goal was wrongly chalked off, while Aubameyang also missed presentable chances against Leicester and Man City the game before. Obviously Aubameyang is more clinical than Lacazette, but the big picture issue is that we’re not creating enough chances for either of them. The main reason for that is that we’re not putting enough of our other players in positions to create or score. That’s down to our approach play and the structure of our midfield more than anything else. Playing Aubameyang at CF alone doesn’t fix… Read more »


How many times did we come out of the tactical water break looking better after an Arteta team talk once he had analysed the pitch?

I blame the players.

Maul Person

Then you’re blaming the wrong people…


Auba needs to play 9 and sake behind him as a cam. William needs to back at his LW position to pull the defense wide and beat the player with his pinpoint crossing.. saka can give us a defensive edge with his awareness and infront of partey and ceballos in league games! 433 pleaseeee


It’s too reactive. Be proactive Mikel. Put him where he belongs. We lay how we want to play, fuck the opposition.
He sounds like Emery there. Don’t go to the dark place!


Maybe what Emery was doing wasn’t that insane considering the squad at hand and his main issues were communication and toxic atmosphere brought about by constant fan whinging.

I think Arteta is a better coach than Emery and the team plays better now, but if we’re gonna lose our shit every time we lose 1-0 to a top-4 contender, it’s gonna spiral into a coach-sacking cesspool of negativity before Christmas – every Christmas.

Maul Person

It’s not just the losses, it’s the repeatedly strange team selections and how those contribute to the losses. Sure, there are some decisions that can’t be helped (like having to play Mustafi because of Luiz’s injury) but why play William up front, why persist with Auba on the left, why play Kola when you have AMN who is arguably better in that role (even if it’s a less preferred position), why play Partey if the style of play bypasses him…? It’s like Arteta is training himself first rather than looking to win games while he’s training himself. So in that,… Read more »

Perry Farrell’s Satellite Partey

Yeah, THE FANS were Emery’s big flaw. smh


Considering that Arsenal only finished 8th, and that we were beaten by the likes of Brighton, and that horror win against Watford, there’s a lot to be said about our expectations from Arteta, and how he wants to play, are too coloured by the wns against MC, Liv and Chelsea, and basically the trophy. The facts still remain that he is a new manager, who definitely has no beginners’ luck, unless you count Liverpool not putting away their chances against us in that home game. We are, Partey, Auba, Gabriel, Saka Tierney and Bellerin aside, not an elite squad. That’s… Read more »


Spot on. We have a flawed team and we couldn’t ship most of the flawed players out and replace them because they aren’t wanted.
A team built like this is never gonna look slick.
You either focus on your stars looking good and hope your Mustafis don’t fuck you, or on everyone else looking adequate and hope the stars can still shine through.
It’s incredibly difficult to do both.

I’d argue that Arteta’s system also exposes the “elite” players just as much. Partey has spent most of his career playing in a double pivot. In the Leicester game, he was used in a single pivot where he had little support from his midfield partners and couldn’t dictate play as the defence gave him less of the ball. Barring Sokratis, Gabriel and Saliba, most of our CBs have very poor acceleration so Bellerin, a naturally offensive fullback, is being asked to limit his runs in behind, tuck in and stay closer to the CBs. He’s not even being used like… Read more »


Spot on
He is crowbarring his best players into unfamiliar roles, while the water carriers like xhaka and lacazette get center stage.
It really is giving me a headache. There’s just no justification for these self inflicted handicaps he keeps giving the team.


previous poster spoke to this – the “justification” is that we have no choice. we have the skill and athleticism, overall, of a mid-table team, no investment to speak of, and a small core of decent to elite players. expectations are too high, Arteta is not handicapping us, I believe he thinks he is trying to plug holes to keep us from getting blown out, and then hopefully can make some transfers, and develop system that achieves a high mid-table result. Arteta will probably not be around very long because he is intelligent and ambitious, and must clearly understand that… Read more »


Actually, we are kind of saying the same thing.

That he is not using another way simply means that Arteta trusts his 55% to do their job in other roles more than he trusts the remaining 45% to do theirs.

That’s what I said.

Arteta is standardizing the quality, as it were. Perhaps I wasn’t being clear enough. The current system gets something like consistent 6.5/10 performances from the best players in the team so that the others can deliver at least consistent 5.5/10. Unshackled, I am sure that the named players would and could deliver consistent 8/10 performances.

My bad. I don’t know how I misread that.

Maul Person

“Is it the manager’s job to push his players to elite performance? Definitely.” The problem is you risk watering down the elite players if you don’t make the most of their skillset in the best way. I admit this primarily applies to Auba but how long must this Auba-on-the-left experiment go on before it’s deemed to be unsuccessful? And what effect would a continuation of it have on him and the team? AW got top four consistently (for a while) with arguably shitter teams so, although Arteta is a different manager with different players, this lack of trust (if that’s… Read more »

Merlin’s Panini

The Auba on the left thing seems to have been a pretty regular thing since Wenger had him. I don’t think it’s an experiment but it’s certainly a slight misuse of him. It’s like every manager seems to think he’s Thierry Henry but, as good as he is, he doesn’t have quite the skillset Thierry had. Auba needs to be in and around the box far more. Sure, he’s extremely quick and can beat a man when set free if he needs to but he’s not as much of a “something out of nothing” player. He needs service. I think… Read more »

Maul Person

So it’s not that Auba isn’t useful on the left. It’s that, as our best option for goals, he isn’t successful from that position and no-one is really scoring from the centre. So with players like Saka who can play from the left, surely Auba should played centrally? It seems so obvious but it’s being ignored. Like not playing Pepe / Nelson when Willian hasn’t delivered. Like not playing ESR (may be due to injury) when there isn’t any other ACM outlet. It’s not desperate yet but there is an unfortunate trend building which suggests we aren’t getting what we… Read more »


I am not claiming that the experiments are getting the best out of Auba. Far from it. I am just saying that without proper midfield to attack links, playing the players in their proper position could probably lead to a system that makes it even worse for the other players.

Kolasinac in the squad cannot be justified, except for some minor sale value, so your guess is as good as mine.

Cultured Determination

Screw it. Just play partey saka willian as the 3 CMs, pepe and nelson on the flanks and stick auba up top. Im sure he will have enough supply to score goals.


After reading that he’s becoming more and more Mikel Emery each and every day. Gobbledygook, gibberish and incoherent. Our boss doesn’t know or cannot get across what he’s trying to say and if he don’t know you can bet the players dont have a scooby either

Craig Velociraptor

Since Aubameyang joined, not one of the four Managers he has played under has deployed him in the centre.

Yet this blog seems so sure that it is the answer.


Well, we invested £300,000 a week in him for the next three years, the attack hasn’t improved at all with Lacazette up front and Eddie is still very young, so what else do you think we should try?


I’m keen to see Auba up top. On the wing he tends to sit back and get involved too much in defence, pulling him away from slipping in behind defence… And he’s not great at defending, but feels he needs to help of course. Place him up top to catch the long balls like Vardy does. And he can also be a pivot for the wingers like saka. Laca, although I like him, I get frustrated watching him play as he is not very creative and seems to be very much in his head during the game, not really spontaneous,… Read more »


It’s a no brainer… put him on the middle!


People keep living in ‘ideal situation’ without considering reality. There is no panacea for attacking issues. Auba in the middle is NOT a cure all for every situation, depends on the opponents we face. Against team packed tight, he will have far more joy cutting in from left with freedon to roam and run into the ball. He is poor generally under duress and his ball retention is not great when pressed. Also Laca AND Auba is probably out strongest option at the moment granted Saka is also good option these days, the two strikers give us a bit of… Read more »

Share article

Featured on NewsNow

Support Arseblog

Latest posts

Latest Arsecast

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x