Is this this the Dortmund version of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang?
Background photo: Nazmi Amin-Tai, CC-BY-SA 2.0
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has built quite a reputation in European football. The man simply knows how to score goals. That much was proved without doubt, during his four-and-half-year spell at Borussia Dortmund. If Arsenal wants anything from the Gabonese, it’s the form he showed at Westfalenstadion.
Aubameyang at Dortmund
Before Robert Lewandowski eased out of Dortmund in 2014, the Yellow Submarine moved a year early to sign his replacement. Jurgen Klopp sanctioned the signing of Aubameyang, a 24-year-old Saint-Etienne forward famed for his ability to play anywhere in attack. Auba’s job was to understudy Lewandowski. And possibly, match the prolific Polish. He went one better.
Aubameyang came in and produced more for Dortmund than Lewandowski ever did. Although both strikers reached a century of goals in four years at Westfalenstadion. It was Aubameyang who did it in fewer games. Lewandowski scored 103 goals for Dortmund after 187 outings; Aubameyang, meanwhile, amassed 120 goals after the same number of matches.
Clinical, fast, good with both feet and a huge aerial threat, Aubameyang quickly matured into a colossus in Bundesliga. He averaged 21 Bundesliga goals per season, scooping the league’s Golden shoe in 2017 before seeking the Premier League challenge.
Can Aubameyang match or better Kane, Aguero?
Harry Kane and Sergio Aguero are Premier League goal monsters. Injured during the campaign or not, the pair is certain to pump out 20 goals per season, at least. They’ve been at it for the past four seasons. It’s a tall order for any striker. We haven’t seen any Premier League striker maintain such consistency in recent times. Will Aubameyang smash into the duopoly?
To answer the question, we’ll have to take a closer look at Aubameyang's development with Arsenal.
When the striker signed for Dortmund, he came in as a player who could be deployed on the wings. But Arsenal/Arsene Wenger didn’t pay £56million for a bit-part winger last January. They spent lavishly on an out-and-out striker. He instantly nudged Alexandre Lacazette down the pecking order. The club also cashed in on Olivier Giroud.
Aubameyang sniped 10 goals in 14 league appearances for Wenger’s team to wrap the 2017-18 campaign. That was a goal-haul any debuting centre-forward would pride in.
Wenger’s retirement ushered in Unai Emery. At first, the Spaniard stuck with Wenger’s 4-2-3-1 system – with Aubameyang leading the attack and Lacazette coming from the bench. Then he decided to accommodate both in the same system, but the 29-year-old Gabonese had to play more from the left wing.
Emery’s pattern hasn’t really paid off for Aubameyang. It hasn’t stopped him from scoring, though. The poacher has 10 goals and tops the Premier League goals leaderboard. But according to Whoscored, only three of those goals were scored when he started as a winger.
The game against Spurs lays it bare. Aubameyang started as a centre-forward and produced arguably his best performance in an Arsenal shirt; scoring twice and setting up a third.
Aubameyang has scored 20 Premier League goals since he joined Arsenal last winter. No striker has scored more in the same period. It’s exactly the sort of form that saw him rain goals for Dortmund.
It takes consistency to match Kane and Aguero. Aubameyang isn’t lacking that commodity.
Aubameyang must be greedily eyeing the Premier League Golden Boot at this point. He deserves to. With the best goal ratio (104 minutes per goal) in the Premier League, you can’t put it beyond him to go on and wrest the golden plaque from Kane.
Most importantly, Arsenal would want Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to keep scoring for the sake of their title challenge.
“I want him to continue improving, and his challenge is also collective and individual, I want his challenge to be that he has the opportunity to be the best scorer in Premier League. We want to help him achieve this and that is because, if he is scoring, he is helping us.” – Emery.