Aubameyang’s Red Card is the Perfect Challenge for Arsenal

Just before Arteta resumed at the Emirates, one could have made a list of challenges that any newly-hired coach would have had to face:

• A pathetic, crumbling defence.
• An imbalanced, low-intelligence midfield.

And a lesser heralded issue:
• A rusty and uninspiring attack.

Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham have all scored at least 7 more goals this season despite having a less exciting frontal attack on paper. It did not help that Unai Emery didn’t field an unchanged XI once over two matches throughout this season; it did not help that the best playmaker on the team was often left out of the starting eleven; it did not help that Nicolas Pépé was inconsistent; it did not help that Lacazette got a month’s injury layoff; and it certainly did not help that Arsenal’s first choice fullbacks were not always available, but there is no excuse, no good explanation for Arsenal scoring only one more goal than the likes of Aston Villa.

Our defense has not just been horrible — the front line has been woeful, too. Alexandre Lacazette, the second most expensive striker in the league, simply does not score away from home. Nicolas Pepe has managed a measly 3 goals so far. And it is damning that none of the next highest goalscorers in the team after Aubameyang are on more than 5 goals.

Mikel Arteta has improved things since his appointment. Everything and everyone simply looks better. The defence don’t look so nervous anymore. The midfield has regained competency and a semblance of control. But the attack has only received a marginal improvement. That’s not to say Arteta’s Arsenal are not creating chances — far from it. It’s just that out of the many chances created so far, only Aubameyang has been able to regularly dispatch them into the net, scoring half of all 6 goals of the Arteta tenure.

At Selhurst Park, the talismanic forward did what he does best on a football pitch: put one past the goalkeeper. Then he mistimed a challenge and got sent off for it. Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang, the striker who is responsible for half of Arsenal’s goals in the Premier League this season, will miss three consecutive game, including the away fixture at Stamford Bridge. There is your challenge.

With Aubameyang gone, either one of Nelson, Martinelli or Bukayo Saka will join the lineup against Sheffield United next weekend with Martinelli looking very likely, given his little gametime and goalscoring record. In any case, all eyes will deservedly be on the more senior players, especially Lacazette, Pepe and Mesut Ozil to rise up to the challenge and come up with the goods.

As Arteta emphasized in his presser on Arsenal.com, “Players have to step up. You know, when one of your big players is not there, they have to take responsibility… It’s time to talk on the pitch, not outside. You come on there, you make the impact that he made and you assure me that you are as good as him or even better. You have the chance.”

A challenge is a chance, too.

13 Comments

  1. Samuel Akinsola Adebosin says:

    It’s a very big challenge indeed that Arsenal will face to overcome it and beat the oppositiom teams despite they’ll not for three consecutive marches have their talisman regular goals poacher to poach goals for them. But Arsenal have two young natural strikers in Nkethia and Martinelli who could fill the prolific goals scoring boots of Aubameyang temporarily, and I believe the Arsenal youngsters will be equaled to the task and deliver the goods for the club unfailingly.

    1. John Ibrahim says:

      Martinelli have proven that he is good in finishing and fill Aubameyang scoring boots

      hes abit inexperience but will gain it from playing

      Additionally, theres lacazette too

      theres enough firepower

      we need to create the chances and tighten the defense

  2. brimzim says:

    stick to arteta philosophy and all will be fine

  3. Roshan Gill says:

    Start
    Laca
    Martinelli Ozil Pepe

    Substitutions
    Bring Pepe off for Nelson
    Bring Nketiah on for Laca/Ozil

    1. gotanidea says:

      I think Pepe would create more impact if playing as a super sub, due to his high risk playing style. We can expect one goal from the other three attackers

      Pepe can try as many tricks as he wants, but he has to rob the ball immediately after the trick fails. Sanchez did this tactic perfectly at Arsenal, so Arteta probably has to show the videos of Sanchez’s games to Pepe

      1. Sylva Olabanji says:

        Pep improvement is just too slow for my liking considering his exploits in France. I think he needs pre-season tour and training and he will be ready next season.

  4. Mig says:

    I have confidence in our squad regarding our attacking game. We have talent in depth here and they will take up the challenge to fill the void left by Auba. Martinelli especially but we also have the likes of Pépé, Saka, Ozil, Nketiah, and Nelson all looking good this year. I would love to see Nketiah come on second half, he is such a handful like Martinelli he will run their defence ragged and second half they will tire. As long as we can have a stable back line, and midfield can distribute the ball and find space we will be good. C’mon you gooners !!!

  5. Shakir says:

    Tbh its not that big of a challenge.Auba has scored 48% of our goals but we have managed to score without auba as well.For example in the europa league and the cup games our players have stepped up.

    The main problem today will be if torreira is available because i dont find guendouzi effective in a double pivot

  6. Gunnerphilic says:

    The sleeping giant is waking up. Arsenal is warming up nicely to the challenge. The boys are going to show they’ve got some fight in them. I fully expect us to win.

  7. Mig says:

    Arteta has instilled some much needed discipline and responsibility in his pressing game and it’s working. The team is growing in confidence as long as we give them time to settle into a new Arteta-Era and as he’s says support the team and the players, let’s not be too hard on them.

  8. Tony says:

    Something must Occur for a thing to Happen.
    Auba sending off must be down to Nature…

    It’s gonna turn out fine..

  9. Mogunna says:

    We have poor defense and midfield, losing best attacking player today can’t be a good news nor a chance. An opportunity for another player to play, but a bad news.
    Just as Saka & Niles forced to play fullbacks once again!

    We do everything backwards, no drastic changes needed, no reaction with many options available!able on market window. Meunier RB is 5M as Kurzawa RB, Serri is 15M in middle, Koulibaly 65M. 90M.

    Sell Torreira, Xhaka, Mustafi, Sokratis, Kolas, Elneny all wanted, that recoups most of it. We have Holding, Mav as CBs back up, plenty options in Niles, Gendouzi, Willock in middle.

    Saka, Martineli, Nelson, Niles, Gendouzi, Willock can’t all get enough play to make progress in their positions, how can we add Nketiah? At least half of these youngsters should be on loan!

    Every team in EPL and championship have 2 players at each position beside Arsenal!

    None for Bellerin at all, nor at LB, Tierny came injured, not back before April, we are fully aware of that, on Kurzawa but no RB news which is an issue since start!

    We can blame Kroenke but he doesn’t stop Arteta to sell in order to buy, nor can he refuse to spend 30M or loans!

    1. ken1945 says:

      Mogunna, it’s so simple to list players why you, personally, want to sell, but three things you might not have taken into consideration.

      1. MA might not see it as you do.
      2. Another club needs to want them and at The Arsenal valuation in order to buy them.
      3. The players you mention want to play for The Arsenal.

      Apart from that, I see your point!!!

Comments are closed