Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s match-winning contribution against Rapid Vienna was a timely reminder that the striker, who’d been on a four-game goal drought, hasn’t forgotten how to put the ball in the onion bag.
After a muted performance in the defeat to Manchester City and no goals since he put pen-to-paper on his new big-money contract, questions were being asked about how to get the best from the club captain and why Mikel Arteta so regularly opts to play him off the left flank.
Ahead of Sunday’s game with Leicester, the boss made clear that his captain will just have to deal with the weight of expectation while admitting his side need to do more to get the striker into better positions around the penalty area.
Expectations for him are that he has to score a goal every game,” he said.
“So this comes with the nature of the big player that he is, what he has done in the past. People expect that from him in the future.
“We are here to help him with that, and we will support him when difficult times come around him.
“He needs to get in more goalscoring opportunities, he needs to get the ball more round the box, in order to do what he is able to do.”
Arteta was also keen to point out that his side have played a lot of matches against high calibre opposition.
“If you look at our fixtures we have already played five games out of seven against top, top opposition,” said the boss.
“It is the same for him or (Manchester City striker) Sergio Aguero, who didn’t have a shot on target as well on the weekend. It is not an isolation of just our player.”
As for moving Aubameyang into a central position – a role usually reserved fro Eddie Nketiah and Alex Lacazette but also one that Willian attempted at the Etihad – the boss sounded pretty bored of the conversation.
“That [talk] is always going to happen,” he said.
“The moment he does not score, he needs to play as a number nine.
“If you play him as a nine, why don’t you keep him on the left because he has been so successful on the left. Its going to happen, I know.”