European football pundit Julien Laurens claims that Mikel Arteta is not stupid to keep playing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on the wing if he will be better off playing centrally.
Aubameyang has struggled for goals this season despite scoring 22 times in each of the last two seasons.
The striker has played as a left forward for all the time that Mikel Arteta has been Arsenal’s boss, and he has delivered.
But now that his goals have dried up, the Spanish manager has been put under pressure by fans to play the attacker through the middle.
Julien, however, claims that Arteta isn’t playing him in that position because the Gabon striker will not be able to press as Alexandre Lacazette does.
He claims that Arteta’s new system requires his central striker to press hard from the front, but that isn’t something that Aubameyang can do at the moment.
“I think it’s just finding a way of getting him more involved in the box,” Laurens told ESPN FC as quoted by Express Sports.
“If you look at stats of expected goals, touches in the opposition box, shots of course.
“If you don’t shoot you can’t score, regardless of your expected goals.
“If he’s not in the position to shoot, if he doesn’t have the ball in the box, he can’t score.
“Right now he cannot play centrally because he would have to chase the ball and press all the time.
“This is what Arteta is asking his No 9 to do and Lacazette can do that and I don’t think Aubameyang can do it, or it would be crazy to ask that kind of job of Aubameyang. He can’t play in the centre.
“Arteta is not stupid, he would play him centrally if he thought he could and if he thought it was better for the team.
“There’s a reason why he plays on the left and not centrally.”