Who gets the blame if Aubameyang plays through the middle and flops?

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is currently suffering his worse goal drought since he moved to Arsenal.

The ever-reliable Arsenal captain is now looking very much like a shadow of himself.

Fans have understandably been frustrated by the latest turn of events and the striker would do himself no harm by returning to goalscoring form.

One of the ideas that have been thrown around recently as a solution to his goal drought is that the striker should be played centrally.

Aubameyang currently operates from the left side of the attack, leaving Alexandre Lacazette to play centrally.

Some fans and pundits believe that if he plays as a centre forward, he will start scoring again or score more goals than he did when he played on the left.

Mikel Arteta is constantly fielding questions about that and it is also always being suggested to him.

On a number of occasions now, he has hinted that he will try the striker in that position.

This could happen when football returns next weekend.

However, what happens if Arteta changes his position to the one that is being suggested and he flops again?

Will the fans and pundits who are making this suggestion take responsibility?

Would Arteta be blamed again for listening to the fans? 

An article from Ime

Tags Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang


  1. The coach will still be blamed.
    I remember Emery in his early stage, usually brought in Laca from the bench. Laca was changing games for us until most fans felt he should be starting alongside Auba. The pressure was on Emery and he had to succumb to fans demand. When it didn’t work out as expect, it was Emery we all blamed. How about Ozil’s situation

  2. He won’t flop if he goes to centre forward. Aubameyang is pure class striker. He’s a centre forward. He scores when he’s in that position. It’s not just physical in the wrong position but being in the wrong position hurts mentally too

    Also, Wenger made many big mistakes ie paying an undeserved huge salary to Ozil, not getting a Top striker when Sanchez was on the left and Ozil wad on fire, nit getting a quality DM and publicly admitting that he doesn’t believe in defense in midfield (if he had done these last 2 things we would have finished 1st over Leicester in my opinion. But in terms of attack a big mistake was getting BOTH Lacazette AND Aubameyang. Effectively pushing Aubameyang to the left and decreasing his effectiveness.

    Arteta needs to make the big decision and drop Lacazette. Put Aubameyang in centre forward. Put 2 out of Willian, Pepe, Saka, Martinelli (when he returns) on either side of Aubameyang

    But if he doesn’t go to that position, then only 1 person deserves the blame… ARTETA

  3. It depends on the entire cast around him which is the coach’s decision to make. In my opinion, a midfield player with good hold up play and drive should play behind Auba since he’s not particularly strong with his back to goal. He needs a player to get on the ball and send him on one on one’s. And that player might just be Willock…

  4. Auba does not need to play striker, he just needs a team set up and strategy that gets him into the box and off the left. The present system is not getting the best out of Auba and also others around him. A change in system is needed not a change of position. He has played most of his recent career playing off the left, it suits him. The system is the fault not Auba.

  5. He will not flop if he is being played through the middle.

    Arteta should play Saka, Aubameyang and Pepe as our 3 man attack.
    Willian can play behind Aubameyang since he has lost pace to play through the left wing.

    Saka, Aubameyang, Pepe,


    Elneny, Partey,

    Tierney, Gabriel, Holding, Bellerin,


    This would be the selection I will stick with.

    1. Nice formation, some games you can start with Nelson and Willock and at the hours mark bring on experience of Willian and Pepe to finish off the games. Back 4 is a priority over any thing else and Leno’s time wasting with the ball needs to stop. Play out from the back when required, play direct when required, the GK should be the best just judge of the situation.

  6. At the end of the day… the manager shoulders the responsibility in whatever decisions made with regards of the personnel and formation. He’s paid to make the best decisions for the team to get the 3 points week in week out. All we can do is to back him and the boys from now till the end of the season. After that, it’s only fair to start questioning him on the decisions he made… My 2 beers.

  7. Its a very negative article. Auba has never flopped. Why do you think that he’ll flop playing in the middle?

  8. In my humble opinion I think the 4-4-2 formation would best suit our team.


    Bellerin Holding Magalhaes Tierney


    Pepe Ceballos. Saka

    Nketia Auba

  9. Auba is world class and it is highly unlikely that he will fail if played as CF. But Auba has to start clicking sooon for Arsenal to succeed this season.

  10. He will attack tge end balls,the 50-50 chances better than anyone in the squad and will also make those line break8ng clever runs.

    But will he be able to hold the ball,link uo play,position for 1-2s , be the target for long balls…i am not sure.

    Our style should be considered before Auba is brought into the middle and definitely the striker issue must be addressed before the next game.

    I trust MA👍

  11. A 433 system allows for faster transition from defence to attack and vice versa when we loose the ball, because than one of the midfielders/wingers can drop back deep to help out in defence. This scenario is more likely against tougher opponents who dominate possession because Arsenal should be ready for counter attacks when we loose possession. For the present, MA can consider Willock/Ceballos/Willian/ESR for the midfield creative role, which is a must if we want to win matches. We have 3 tough assignements next, Leeds, Wolves and the Spuds, we have to start clicking fast.

  12. Surely no one will be to blame?
    We aren’t getting the best out of Auba and moving him to play centrally is a way of trying to rectify that scenario.
    MA has to try anything and can change it again, if necessary.
    However, he will still not be getting the through balls he needs to compliment his style of play and that is the real problem…. CREATIVITY.

    1. Ken…

      If my interpretation of your response is correct, I also do not agree with the blame-pointing game. I believe every problem is always situated to be solved, and acknowledging the existence of any problem is the origin of its solution. Playing Auba through the middle can be explored, but if it doesn’t work, we cannot begin to play the blame game, instead, it means a different solution may be required. Essentially, what we should be concerned about is if Arteta acknowledges such problems, and if he displays an intent to solve them. And in my opinion, the answer to the above is a yes, which should allay our fears.

      Creativity-wise, I am of the opinion that an article may be required on the true nature of creativity. Many think/believe creativity lies in a single player (i.e a number 10) who can unlock defences. While this may seem true, nevertheless, creativity also manifests in other forms. I believe creativity stems from the dynamism of patterns. If patterns can be changing so fast and quickly enough, then creativity swells to its peak. In this regard, the Arsenal team lacks such an ability to create quick and fluid patterns, not because Arteta doesn’t want it, but simply because the players are not gifted enough to initiate and sustain such. They typically lack good close ball control in tight spaces, inability to turn on the ball in tight spaces and these are qualities required by all members of the team and can be long and difficult to teach experienced players. We see that such qualities permeate the entire Liverpool team and so they don’t require a number 10 per se….

      These are only my opinion, which can be viewed in greater details….


      1. Flame your interpretation of the “blame game” is akin to mine and the saying “don’t bring me the problem, bring me the solution” fits this scenario 100%.
        MA obviously knows we have a goal scoring problem and the solution has to be trying something different.

        As for creativity and every player needing to be able to produce it, your example of Liverpool is very true – the only time I can think off that The Arsenal had that ability, was the Invincibles.

        However, MA does not have that luxury, but has bought in, with the likes of Partey and Gabriel, the beginning of that structure… but it takes time.
        Meanwhile, we have players (Ceballos and Ozil) who could bring in that missing creativity, either sitting on the bench, or being completely ignored.
        Neither would be the solution, but either could help with the situation regarding Aubameyang’s current problem… in my opinion.

        1. Ken..

          Your point regarding the need for time to be given to Arteta cannot be over emphasised. I totally agree with you!

          A creative-minded player with both the ability to dribble and find a pass is most required at Arsenal. However, I am baffled that simple qualities like solid ball control even under pressure is lacking from many of our players, the ability to attack space is weak, and even in picking accurate passes. These are qualities any great coach will find difficult to teach experienced players, and many of our players are below par in this regard. This makes playing out from the back difficult as well as creating patterns against low blocks to open them up. I guess these are qualities Arteta has found and pursued in players like Partey and Gabriel, and this makes me confident in the future with Arteta. This is simply my opinion.

          Again, I can only wait till January for the Ozil dilemma to be solved, else, we would have to march on without him and be positive for the future….

          Always a pleasure again Ken!


          1. Fire, we also have Tierney, Saka, Saliba (judging from his performance recently), Martinelli, AMN, ESR and Willock to supply the creativity …but MA has had to concentrate on the defensive aspect of the team.
            This he has done and successfully in my opinion.
            The Villa game was a blip and it happens to every manager – some call these games humiliations, others off days – one takes one’s pick – I believe in the latter.

            We may not have the worlds elite players, but I certainly don’t see them as you do, in as much as they are all representing ( or have) their countries and it is the rigid way MA has had to sort out the defensive side of our play, that has seen these players shy away from their natural abilities, being told to stick to a rigid formation…hence the starvation to one of Europes most prolific strikers.

            So have we the players to change that? We are on the way to having them, that’s for sure and MA just needs to utilize the abilities within the group.
            How he does it, I am not sure, but leaving creative players out any longer, will not change the situation, in my personal opinion of course.
            As you say, January will be very interesting.

            1. Ken…

              You have highlighted some notable points, with which I must concur. However, I do not see how Arteta’s sorting out of the defence should be considered as rigid. If I am correct, all Arteta demands is for every player to get behind the ball when out of possession, which makes it more difficult to break us down. In my opinion, such an approach is required since many of our players are weak defensively and can be bypassed easily in many one-on-one defensive moments, which was evident again in the Aston Villa game. So, I am not convinced that improving the defense in this manner implies rigidity…

              Formation wise, I also believe every player must know his role in a game and apply himself at the highest possible level required. Nevertheless, I am convinced the best formation will be explored and found with time, one that fits the strengths and weaknesses of the team in general.

              I am also convinced the younger players you mentioned will be blooded in progressively as they steadily improve with game time in the Europa and Carabao competitions.

              As we always end with Ozil, I guess a change of attitude will be required for him to stand a chance of reappearing in January, which I hope he adopts. Nevertheless, same with you, it is our wish that Arteta succeeds and Arsenal returns back to its glory days….


              1. Fire, thanks for the reply and here is my follow up:
                The word rigid, applies to the fact that MA wants to play out from the back and, then, through a midfield that is defensive in everything it does – the sideways and backward passing that is so obvious in our play under MA, even more so than UE and AW I would suggest.
                We have not seen ANY other form of play since the start of the season – the first season that Aubameyang has struggled – a coincidence? I think not, but who knows?

                One thing is for certain, we would never score a goal such as the one Villa scored, when Martinez threw the ball out to the halfway line for their second goal – it is just not being coached for us to do that…hence the word “rigid” seems appropriate.

                From my viewpoint, that kind of play, stifles the natural talents of the more technical player and also makes the chance of a through ball to feed Aubameyang less likely…hence ( the way I see it) the answer to the struggles he is experiencing at the moment.

                This viewpoint would/could also explain the exclusion of those players with the technical ability to create, while not having the ability to defend – or, as I have said before, running up and down the pitch like a blue a**ed fly!!!
                MA’s need to improve our defensive side of the game, had to be at the expense of the creative side and it’s those type of players who are being left out.

                It is interesting to note that the following eight teams feature with the most back passes to date:
                Chelsea – 834 Pool -754 Arsenal – 699 Everton -675 Saints – 674 City – 672 Fulham – 666 Spuds -635.

                Apart from Fulham, the other six are above us in the league, so one has to believe the tactics are sound – but, as you say, one needs the right players to do it!!!
                As we do have an excellent record (well, up until Villa) your suggestion that our players are not capable of controlling the ball under pressure, flies with the facts that we had the best defensive record ( and are still second best in the league following the Villa defeat ).
                But where I do concur is the inability to attack and/or find the spaces, along with the telling passes to release the subject of the article, Aubameyang.

                So in summary, we have improved as a defensive unit, but at the loss of attacking football – we need to introduce tactics and a formation that, with the signings of Gabriel and Partey to solidify the defensive side, will allow the attack minded players to ply their trade and service the needs of Aubameyang – once again, just my opinion.

                Cheers and thanks for the on going debate.

                1. Ken…

                  Again, you have earned my utmost respect!! Your words are spot on and without doubt gleaned from deep thoughts and a well constructed argument…

                  I totally concur with all you have said and I have very little to add or subtract….

                  It has been well discussed and I look forward to another thought-provoking article where interesting ideas can be expressed and well analysed!

                  Please do stay safe and remain blessed!


  13. We’ll have to see how the games are played first. It’s possible to have Messi in your team and still use him ineffectively. Imagine if they just punted long balls to him and expected him to get get onto headers.

    1. RSH, the problem with playing the games first, is that we are not creating any chances.
      With a total of only nine goals scored, including three against Fulham, two against Sheff. United and two against WHU.
      That equates to a goal every eighty minutes, while we concede every seventy two minutes.

      Are we, The Arsenal, also not using our creative players correctly?
      I don’t mean just one player either, let’s make that perfectly clear.

  14. It doesn’t matter. Centre, left or right. If you aren’t getting the service through midfield then all forward positions suffer. It is not as if lacazette is getting 20 chances per game. Through balls from deep has also dried up of late.

  15. A creative midfielder is a must and the 433 system must be implied in future matches. MA can use Willock/ESR/Willian/Ceballos for the purpose and the player can combine with Partey and Elneny in the midfield 3. The Leeds game will be the crucial test.

Comments are closed

Top Blog Sponsors
JustArsenal Top Ten UK Blogs