Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in action against Everton with Arteta dishing instruction from sideline
By Daniel Matthews
Mikel Arteta is confident Arsenal can persuade Arsenal captain, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to stay beyond this season – now the striker has answered the manager’s own questions over his mindset. The Arsenal hitman scored twice to maintain their resurgence under Arteta with a 3-2 win over Everton at the Emirates stadium on Sunday evening.
Aubameyang’s two goals against Everton means he now has 17 goals for the season, which puts him level with Jamie Vardy in the race for the English Premier League (EPL) Golden Boot. The striker, whose contract has less than 18 months to run, has been linked with a move away from north London in the summer. When asked whether victories such as this would help their fight to keep him, Arteta said: “Hopefully not just the wins but as well what we are trying to do, that he really enjoys being on the pitch every time he goes, that he feels very much part of what we’re trying to build here. And I think he’s with that mindset at the moment.”
He added: “I think it’s been tough for him, a player like him, there have been a lot of disappointments in the last few months and years because he has big expectations. You know he wants to play for the biggest clubs in the biggest tournaments and be up there with the best players in the world. We have to try and support him and give him everything at the club so he really feels fulfilled here. That’s the challenge I have.”
At the Emirates on Sunday, Dominic Calvert-Lewin opened the scoring with a bicycle kick after only 49 seconds before goals from Eddie Nketiah and Aubameyang put Arsenal in front. Richarlison levelled moments before half time but Aubameyang netted the winner just 27 seconds after the restart. Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti bemoaned his side’s defensive shortcomings after the Arsenal captain stretched their unbeaten run to 10 matches and ensured Arteta’s side are still yet to taste defeat in 2020.
The Arsenal manager, who labelled Aubameyang Arsenal’s ‘best player’ in his post-match interview with Sky Sports, admitted yesterday that before he took over at the Emirates he was unconvinced over his mentality. ‘I had two questions: one, he doesn’t want to do it or he cannot do it physically. So once I found out physically he could do it, it was just about convincing him that he needs to do it every three days. And he’s showing that.’ he said. ‘He needs to feel fulfilled. When he does that, we show our appreciation as well of what he is doing because he can say ‘I score the goals, I don’t need to do it’. But unfortunately we are not that good that we can allow a few players not to do that.’
Arteta added: ‘I’m so happy with him. Obviously because he’s scoring very important goals for us but as well as a captain he’s giving a great example to everyone else. That a player of this calibre is able to work the way he is working defensively… and he’s willing and happy to do it.’ Arteta said other teams in Europe are ‘completely right’ to want the forward, claiming: ‘He’s a superb player. He completely deserves to be liked by other teams but hopefully we can convince him that this is the right place for him. And he has a future here.’
*Matthews writes for Mail Online