Is Arteta playing a dangerous game with Auba’s special treatment? (Opinion)

Mikel Arteta has refused to drop Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from the starting line-up for a single Premier League game despite the striker’s form, and that is surely risking unrest in the Arsenal squad.

The Spanish boss has done wonders with the squad since taking over, proving to his young players that their chances will come, and there are rewards if you take them.

Bukayo Saka got his chance before Arteta came in of course, but he has earned a regular role on the wing since his arrival. Emile Smith Rowe was another success story, while Eddie Nketiah started off as one, but has somehow found minutes hard to come despite starring in the manager’s first months in charge.

This season, the manager once again promoted to his extended squad that there is a route into the first-team, first by dropping Bernd Leno for Ramsdale, who more than took his chance with both hands. Now we have Nuno Tavares keeping Kieran Tierney out the team, despite some reservations from fans especially after his showing against Liverpool.

All that hard work is at risk of coming unstuck however, with his inability to drop Auba from the line-up. His failures in front of goal are all-too apparent, and with him being the type of captain who leads with his football (not with his voice), there is plenty of reason to grow frustrated with the situation.

We have the likes of Eddie Nketiah, Gabriel Martinelli and Folarin Balogun all craving further playing time, and I struggle to see how they are not growing in anger as Auba’s struggles continue, while they are all continually overlooked.

I’m not naive enough to claim that our captain is completely done, or that he needs to be dropped permanently from the starting line-up, but something does need to change.

Charles Watts recently claimed that the striker’s finishing was costing us, whilst telling his YouTube followers that he is ‘playing poorly’ while Agbonlahor told the Football Insider that Aubz is ‘going backwards’, and I cannot disagree with either comment.

The manager can only allow things to go on for so long however, as it won’t only be the other strikers in the squad who will be questioning the decision if things continue as they are.

Would dropping Auba bring a reaction from the striker? We’ve heard the manager sing the praises of all of options who could play in his place, so why couldn’t one of them take their chance in the same way that Nuno, Smith Rowe, Saka and Ramsdale have?

I understand that we all have our favourites of the three, but I think I’m amongst the minority in wanting Nketiah to get an extended run ahead of the other two, believing he is primed to perform after a top pre-season as well as starring in his limited cup outings also.


Tags Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang


  1. Arsenal Fan: Ozil is the worse player I have seen at
    AFC after signing a lucrative new

    Auba: Hold my beer

  2. Sorry but Nketiah has fluffed enough chances, and his time is done. Why play him when he is clearly off at the end of the season?

    Certainly not to increase his value; why would a club pay a fee for a young player they can have for a free in the Summer?

    For me it would be either Martinelli or Balogun.

    Martinelli is always willing to make those runs in the box, and has shown an incredibly high work rate on both sides of the ball.

    Also he has the ability to create his own shot, something Nketiah lacks as a poacher.

    Balogun is too good to be wasting time in U-23, that should be clear by now. Is he good enough for a role with the PL squad?

    Balogun should be getting the minutes given to Nketiah or Laca even. Neither have been pulling up trees, and I see it as a win-win with Balogun.

    Either he proves he can contribute at this level, or he shows enough to get another club interested in a loan so he gets some 1st team football.

    1. Completely agree and I think MA should have slowly integrate both players, bringing each in for Auba for last 10min, if he really has plans for them starting at cf anytime soon, I guess he is planning on bringing in a striker and has no plans of playing Martinelli as main striker yet

    2. I do agree with you too. No disrespect to Auba. He is still good but inconsistent perhaps using him sparingly and limiting him to certain minutes will be better for his energy and concentration.

      Either start him n sub him for future talented stars Balo/Martin. Or Start with 1 of them and sub Auba. Who knows Auba maybe a a supersub for his age.

      Since Arsenal is rebuilding and doing well Arsenal need to groom and start younger players for this season or 2.

      Auba shouldn’t be the Captain as most of us know that he does knot have the qualities of a captain. Maybe as vice captain.

  3. The special treatment afforded to our Captain is not only iniquitous, but is an example of weak Management on the part of Arteta,Neither, Martinelli, Nketiah nor Balogun could contribute less than the peripheral displays we are seeing virtually every match from our so called leader.Enough is enough.

    1. I disagree. Arteta has evaluated his players and come to his decisions about who should play and who should be on the bench. The fact that he has a different view to yours does not in any way make him a weak manager. Your suggestion of iniquity is also unjust and baseless.

      1. Baseless? Poor in virtually every match equals baseless?These are the facts not figments of my imagination.The fact that Arteta is prepared to tolerate this is an example of weak Management as far as I am concerned.

  4. Just off the topic but how about Partey, Torreira together??
    And May be Sambi, Torreria and AMN together

      1. Torreira didn’t like it in England, he was fed up after his first 6months. His case isn’t football related at all. He like it in Italy good luck to him

      2. Ramsdale
        Tomi Saliba Gabriel Tierney
        White Partey
        Saka ESR Martinelli
        Laca(or replacement)

        Would be my choice, with White dropping in as a 3rd CB when under pressure if needed.

        1. I also would love to see White slotted in as a DM and dropping back to 3rd CB when were are protecting a lead.

          Leaving Sambi and Partey as the other 2 midfielders, or even try Tavares in the midfield and rest Partey.

          Something has to be done about our midfield, and we can’t continue to throw money at the problem.

          Internal solutions can solve some of our problems, and using Martinelli and Balogun could be part of the solution.

          Giving AMN time instead of Odegaard as a 10, and maybe even Tavares, and bring in another backup LB to Tierney.

  5. I think Aubameyang would understand if he needs to rest for a couple of games. He is already 32 years old and his salary is the highest in the team, so he would likely not care about the bench effect on his career anymore

    He actually tried hard to be our main high presser and pivot in the front line, as seen in his effort to chase the opposition’s GK/ CBs and fighting in aerial duels. The problem is his age, so he can’t press as intense as the youngsters and his hold-up play isn’t good either

    If Lacazette leaves us in January, I suggest we give Balogun another trial in EPL and in some cup matches. But we shouldn’t crucify the manager and the players if Balogun still can’t make it as a CF

  6. The constant selection of Auba in the first 11 is an indication that Arteta is not the man to take us forward. Couple with his defeatist approach against big clubs. The claim we can’t have a go at their home is weak excuse. Would those big clubs adopt the same approach when they come to Emirate. Watford went toe to toe to Chelsea and made them sweat for their victory while we laid down against them in our house. He could be a good coach in future but right now he is not and it is unacceptable and a grave mistake that is our coach.

  7. All Goonewre love agenda who are not in love with ASuba have long known that he is apale shadow of thr player he was two seasons ago.

    He does not deserve to be in the team and if he is, the manager risks alienating better, hungrier and younger players.

    In particular the admirable MARTINELLI, who by now should already have been a regular starter for some time past.

    GM must now start matches and Auba be dropped, at least to the bench.
    We all know that; so why doesn’t MA!!

  8. Auba doesn’t look like he can score to save his life right now, missing sitter after sitter. Football is a competitive sport and if you are not performing at the top level, you need to get benched and let someone else have a go.
    Auba has gotten involved in the press, but he doesn’t come to and show for the ball, he doesn’t make runs to get in behind, his shooting this season as been positively atrocious and he can only score tap-ins – missing the majority of sitters almost anyone in the league could score.
    Auba is old and his confidence is shot. He simply no longer has the pace or confidence to beat players and score. Nketiah or Balogun should be given chances to show what they can do.

  9. To be frank, Arteta has been his own worst enemy…of course, in those earliest of days mistakes would invariably be made and summarily excused, so long as you believed in the potential endgame, but not so much so after his first window in charge…the problems he currently faces are as a direct result of the short-sightedness he displayed following our rather fortuitous FA victory…had he taken the originally prescribed and promised path of a “wheel reinvention” some would have still questioned the “process” but none could have questioned his true intentions…unfortunately, his misguided attempt to cheat the process by opting to for a more senior player-laden squad last year has ultimately put him under considerably more pressure this year to produce tangible results, which makes it infinitely more difficult to do those things that are naturally required whenever a “rebuild” is in the offing…as such, he continues to deploy exceedingly negative tactics far too often and select players who have no viable future with the club, which has hurt us from a developmental capacity…you simply can’t have your cake and eat it too…as I’ve always said, I care far more about the “eye test” than the results, in that if they pass the former, the results will invariably come

    as for those who continually lay blame at the feet of Auba, give your head a shake, as even though he’s certainly not firing on all cylinders, no Striker ever has achieved great things with a fraction of the chances and/or the requisite service…let’s face it, he’s by far our best option up top, but in leaner times he should simply be placed on a much shorter leash, so that in matches where a high press is on offing and he’s not making hay, he should be subbed off in a timely fashion…that said, his replacement should only be a player who’s either part of our future plans or someone who we’re realistically putting in the shop window, so not Eddie or Laca…regardless, his presence is far less unsettling than the fact that MA has once again shoehorned Ode into the starting 11, as he’s simply a luxury player who doesn’t provide near enough in the final third to make up for his obvious defensive deficiencies…he’s like a neutered Xhaka…plus, when he plays we lose any real central presence in the opposing half, which makes Partey a far more problematic player

    1. While your anti Arteta agenda is at least consistent, you are really clutching at straws in your support of our Captain who has been poor in every aspect of play needed by a forward.Close control, poor.Hold up play, poor.L inking with others, poor,Chances missed, poor, Chances created, poor, Running off the ball, average.Leadership, non existant..Your suggestion that he ” is not firing on all cylinders” is an understatement I would suggest and I have not mentioned the fact that he is not combative in the air. I rest my case.

      1. As is the case far too often, you failed to grasp the nuanced nature of my Auba argument, as I’m not suggesting whatsoever that he should be devoid of blame…the issue for me is the amount of blame that can be attributed to someone who has clearly made his name as a counter-attacking forward, who now finds himself plying his trade on a team where this type of offensive tactic is rarely utilized…just look at the stats since MA’s arrival

        of course, he should never miss the kind of opportunity he was afforded two games ago, but this team, under MA, has provided him with exceedingly less help than at any other time in his prolific career and his numbers simply reflect that fact…so instead of talking about those areas where he hasn’t excelled, many of which were never on offer even when he was scoring a plethora of goals, and instead look more closely at the real reasons why his numbers have decreased since Arteta’s hiring…surely you can’t be suggesting this is merely a coincidence

        furthermore, I clearly stated that he should be subbed off on a more regular basis, so long as his replacement is someone of consequence, moving forward, and not someone who, by all measures available, provide infinitely less, from a goal-producing perspective, and who will likewise be leaving on a free come season’s end…so your case might seem clear-cut in your own mind, but in the real world, where facts matter and common sense should prevail, more often than not, your position fails on several accounts

        1. I have focused on the facts in my analysis of Auba and out of respect I have not mentioned the fact that he is no longer particularly quick.You are right to suggest that he is not suited to the tactical game preferred by Arteta which makes the Manager’s decision to stick by him all the more puzzling.Perhaps Arsenal need to unload Arteta and Auba to have any chance of returning to our former glory, but in the here and now, imo Auba does not justify his untouchable status.No personal offence intended by my comments .

          1. now you’ve stumbled onto something, in that we might be best served by removing both parties from the Arsenal equation…all I know is that I watch far more football than what’s on offer at Arsenal and from what I’ve witnessed, I truly believe that with the right tactics this squad, minus the inclusion of the training wheel players like Xhaka and Ode, could be an incredibly effective counter-attacking force, with Auba leading the line…so, in my estimation, one is far less pertinent to our present success than the other…btw, as to the issue of personal offence, none taken

      2. Sorry Grandad, although I agree with you that Aubamayang is a spent force and needs to be replaced I also believe that the style or lack of, of Arteta all is a huge disadvantage. Chances created from mid field, wingers and wing backs are scanty. Even Christian Ronaldo or Ibrahimovic in their prime would struggle to hustle for half chances.

  10. This while idea of special treatment, favouritism etc is vastly overblown. Managers choose players they trust based on their personal feelings and observations because that is what they are paid to do, there’s nothing insidious to it. Sure we can question their decisions (I would personally drop Auba for Martinelli), but its just armchair punditry. Do you really think a manager picks a player simply out of loyalty when its their job on the line?

    1. 👍 In the article it says by not dropping Auba it ‘is surely risking unrest in the Arsenal squad.’ I’m not buying that. They win as one and lose as one.

      1. Ramsdale (sub Leno)
        Tomi White Gabriel Tierney (sub Nuno)
        Sambi Partey (sub AMN)
        Saka ESR Martinelli (sub Pepe)
        Balogun (sub Laca / Auba, or Laca start with sub Balogun / Auba) )

        MA must improve the strategy. Arsenal’s work rate must have ability when go forward and defend quickly, and make pressure more effectively..

    2. Thank you for a sensible comment rather than the nonsense being spouted by so many of the armchair critics who seem to frequent this site.
      Part of the issue is that so many fans are underrating Arteta’s work and seem to believe that Arsenal have a great squad which should find it easy to get into the top four.
      Why not? After all, we have such world class players as Nketiah and Balogun.

      1. Agreed, considering that Middlesboro are supposedly leading the chase for Balogun and the only club interested in Nketiah this summer was Crystal Palace I don’t get this idea that they’d have done better than Auba this season. For me Auba is just lacking confidence/in a slump but has put in a shift. Players and managers can tell when players are not trying, not least because they see them in training everyday, so Arteta is just trying to show him some faith to get him back to his best. Of course that doesn’t mean he can’t/shouldn’t be dropped, but painting him out to be lazy or uninterested is ridiculous.

  11. The Spanish boss has done wonders with the squad since taking over? The writer is clearly drinking the Arteta cool-aid or living on a different planet. The last time I checked, we were still out of Europe – the first time in 25 years.

    Arteta himself created the problem in the first place by overpaying the player and offering him the captainship as incentives to stay. Reap what you sew. If Arteta is incapable of amicably fixing the problem with Auba, and generally, leadership within the squad, he doesn’t deserve the title of team manager.

  12. Absolutely! Auba needs to be dropped now. It feels like he is just going through the motion with no intention to goal. I am really surprised that the management and the coach can not see the body language at all

  13. Ozil stopped caring about the team and wanted to be treated as special because his past achievements made him feel above everyone else – at least that’s how it looked to me – whereas auba is now playing for the team, and trying hard, but genuinely struggling.
    He should have been dropped a long time ago in truth (he was far worse last season but still kept getting back in) – it’s clear he should not be untouchable in this squad anymore but he seems to be first name on the sheet.
    Eddie looked good in preseason and who knows, may have kicked on if given a real chance once fit? Or GM, or Laca may have won us a few extra points.
    Arteta has to be fair in his selections, but I think he’s got this one wrong, even though its been staring him in the face for well over a year. It would be my biggest criticism of him – I find Willian more understandable because he signed him on the back of a good season and desperately wanted him to recapture his form.

  14. I first saw Auba some years ago playing for Dortmund in CL match. What struck me most was his effortless pace and the way he terrorised the defenders and when he signed for us in 2018 I was really pleased and he did justifiy his fee and salary for the next two years. Unfortunately his main asset, his pace, has been on the decline for some time and, unlike someone like Lewandowski, he does not have the technical skills to compensate. Offering him a huge 3 year contact at the age of 31 was a huge gamble which is not paying off and not likely to. Moving him on is going to be difficult and I cannot see any big club signing him except on a free or a loan. His current contract ends in Sept. 2023 so MA has a big decision to make soon. Based on this season’s performances he does not justify starting imo. I remember a certain MO being sidelined for similar reasons so will MA be consistent and do the same to Auba? We’ll soon see!!

  15. Yep defo in the minority to me, Nketiah and Lacazatte should be in the u23s. If you don’t want to sign on and fight for a place then make way and we will find someone who will. As for Aubameyang, no one is too good, Thursday night was your signal for a breather, time to let Flo and Telli get on the ball.

    Personally I would sell Nketiah, laca, auba, Pepe and nelson. Try to raise enough money for haaland and another winger.

  16. Abuymang is still be far our best out and out forward. Laca has been more successful in a deeper roll and Nketiah and any other striker at the club is a non factor.

    That is the most glaring need at Arsenal. We get smacked around by the big clubs because world class strikers score goals. We do not have one. And have needed one for years. Our last successful years as a top 4 club our best player was arguably up front, van Persie, Giroud, Abub 4 years a

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