Saturday, November 27, 2021

“He had to take a step forward” – Arteta hails Aubameyang

Mikel Arteta says Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang recognised a need to up his game and has praised the way the striker and his close friend Alex Lacazette have started to lead Arsenal’s young squad.

In addition to rediscovering his scoring touch – Auba has seven goals in nine games – the Gunners captain has also been a visible in-game cheerleader this term and set the tempo for his teammates with a determination in his defensive work.

In the eyes of the boss, it all adds up to a decent quarter-season report card.

“Leading is not telling someone what he needs to do, for me it is being able to transform that person and not just with words, but with facts as well,” Arteta told ahead of Tuesday’s Carabao Cup game with Leeds United.

“There are players now that on that pitch that they are able to transmit something and change certain behaviours and attitudes in other players. That is contagious, and for me that is leadership.”

Put to him that Auba is finding his best form after last season’s disappointments, Arteta continued: “I wouldn’t go to the goals, again it is what Auba is transmitting on the pitch. I have never seen Auba transmit what he is doing now.

“Apart from the goals, the celebration when they put the ball in the net, do you see the way he runs, the purpose he has to press the ball, and when he takes it his movement, his link, how is leading the game – that is when he is changing the rest, not when he is static and then he puts the ball in the net. I prefer this Auba.”

On what is driving the change, he added: “For me, it is a click. It is a click. It is a combination that realising that his role has to go well beyond that. What was good, or very good, two or three years ago, with his role in this team, at this club, it is not enough.

“He had to take a step forward. I would say the same with Laca, look what he is transmitting, not just doing or playing, what he is transmitting. For me that is really, really important.”

Last week, Alex Lacazette came off the bench against Crystal Palace to grab a late equaliser before putting in a decent shift as a starter against Aston Villa.

Given he’s not played much football this campaign – Friday’s match was his first Premier League start – the boss was quick to praise his attitude and selflessness.

“They [Auba and Laca] lead by example and not only there [on the pitch] but as well at the training ground,” said Arteta.

“Certain things, a role they could have had three years ago in the squad, now it has changed.

“Human beings change themselves every six months, they have all new selves, and it’s incredible so we are able to adapt very quickly and manipulate and change our minds very quickly as well.

“They are doing that for the benefit of the club, but for sure for the benefit of themselves.”

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Jeremy DG

Interesting comments from MA.


That’s holistic management comments from MA. It does not correspond with the assumption that MA is ridgid and dictatorial. He actually points out peoples capasity for change.


Looking more and more like last year was more aberration than the beginning of a decline.


He’s doing a lot more for himself now but he’s also benefited from a more robust and direct style of play against Villa, which is being facilitated by Saka, ESR and Partey. Lacazette was also very helpful in his 10/second striker role. He’s much more up for the physical battle than Ødegaard, which helps him combine with the rest of the team in attacking positions. If we are looking to replace Laca with either another striker or an attacking midfielder, physicality and drive have to be high on the agenda.

Cultured Determination

442 is interesting with laca dropping deep. Hope odegaard can play that role too, or maybe pepe


It’s quite similar to the old invincibles formation, isn’t it, with Laca in the Bergkamp role?


I agree that Laca fills the same kind of space as Bergkamp (although conducts it it a completely different manner), and the basic shape last game was generally the same. But that Invincibles had a very unique dynamic. Henry basically was two players in one, acting as both a left forward/winger and centre forward at the same time. Pires was a left winger, but would drop into an inside left position. Cole overlapped constantly meaning we always had a triple overload on that side. Teams would try to defend against it, but then Ljungberg would have space to sneak in… Read more »


Yes, absolutely, I only meant to compare last game’s formation, not to equate it with the quality of the invincibles. Still though: two inverted wingers, an overlapping left back, a central forward who pulls out towards the left (comparisons with Henry stop there), a double pivot (where Lokonga may allow Partey to burst forward and break the lines, or vice versa), I see more reasons why it might work than I did when we tried Lacazette as a 10 in a 4231 last season.


Yeah, fair points. I also remember in Auba’s first season all the media narrative was about how Auba and Laca were great friends in their free time and therefore had great synergy on the pitch (I have my doubts if football really works that way). In any case, they did connect well on the pitch, but when Auba’s performances on the left dropped the narrative changed. Auba had to be up top which I think is fair so he could continue to utilise his greatest strength, which is getting in on goal. This 4-4-2 maybe allows them to re-establish that… Read more »

Brady’s bunch

But I seen that invincible team play you wouldn’t believe it possible to get that much talent into one side, we were truly blessed to have had them.

Hank Scorpio

Hopefully this is a bit of a eureka moment for Arteta. It might nominally be a 4-4-2 or 4-2-3-1 or whatever but I think it was the movement and positioning of the players that made it work. I don’t know what our pressing was like this game but very often Villa had nowhere to go coming out of defence. Seemed to me also that Tavares was not camped in the opposition half like Tierney often is. Hopefully this is a bit of a blueprint. If a team has an identity or whatever you’d like to call it, I think this… Read more »

Wrighty's hats

Not usually one to be cynical but thought I would add that Europe also gives us much needed funds!


The good old days


here’s a thought… one year on and Laca becomes our new Santi?

Wrighty's hats

Haha that’s taking it a little far I think! (Oh how I miss the days we had Santi!)

A Different George

Two points. First, last season was not comparable to anything else (not just football, but let’s leave it at football). Apart from his family illness, and his injury, Aubameyang also had malaria. I am not a doctor, but I am certain that some effects of malaria don’t just disappear immediately and you are as good as new. The obviously tired, seemingly uninterested, Aubameyang we saw at the end of last season looks a lot like a man who was still recovering. Second, I think Arteta is making the point that even the way Aubameyang played two and three seasons ago–which… Read more »

He’s better than you

As someone who lives in Africa, the malaria bit is an argument that makes me chuckle every time it’s made. Malaria isn’t the once damaging disease it used to be. People now make full recoveries in 3 days. Please note this comment isn’t to take away anything from Auba (I can’t cos I really don’t know what he was going through). But yeah, the point of my comment isn’t to trivialize Auba’s experience but really to say malaria isn’t what most people here think it is.

The 49th Partey

I’m an African in Africa too and I agree malaria when caught early is next to nothing. But when it’s not diagnosed early it is deadly. If I remember correctly, Aubameyang was mis-diagnosed and isolated on the presumption he had COVID, I think Auba even had to self-diagnose, he assisted the doctors to suggest it might be malaria, doctors in the UK have only seen malaria in text books. So yes, malaria with a sub Sahara African doctor would take 3 days or less to recover but that was far from the case for Auba. Malaria left untreated is a… Read more »

He’s better than you

Oh wow. I didn’t know he wasn’t diagnosed correctly early on. That’s actually scary. You’re right. When it’s not caught early, the effects of malaria can be brutal. I’ve heard it could lead to hallucinations and even death.

Viju Jacob

I’m from India and when I was 21, I had malarial fever and has two relapses which put me in bed for a month. It all depends on what strain you get & it does sap your energy even while walking.


For me it’s the effort on defense. last year that was lacking – complacency, malaria, whatever it was it is mostly back. He lacked it against Brighton (wet rainy night and he was just off maybe), but he’s been much more engaged. Formation and balance helps a lot too. More and more data shows Auba and Pepe just aren’t a good combination. I was leaning towards giving Pepe a chance up top because he has the longer-term potential, but Auba is showing his importance and Pepe continues to struggle with consistency. I said in a previous post with Newcastle cashed… Read more »

Brady’s bunch

Inclined to agree with you. In a strange twist of fate you could see lacca and Pepe heading that way if there’s silly money being thrown around we’d be mad not to.

Cranky Colin

Baby steps………individual items are improving at the Arse.
It’s slow and at times painful and there’s more shit to come before consistency, but I would prefer to be building a culture under MA, than looking for a quick fix.


Well said… Sorry Antonio – we’re not conte-ing on you any longer.


Plus his combinations are better than you think – even an assist from Emi Martinez, getting his goal from open play.

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