'It doesn’t work like that': Arteta sends 'non-negotiable' message to one Arsenal player
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has made it clear that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang cannot forget his defensive duties in order to focus more on scoring regular goals for the Gunners.
The Gabon star has had a difficult time lately. He hasn’t scored for Arsenal in over a month and to make things worse, he missed an absolute sitter against Newcastle United at the Emirates on Saturday.
Some Arsenal fans feel Aubameyang’s defensive duties is the reason why he hasn’t been as clinical as his previous self. However, Arteta doesn’t believe that for one second and he has urged his skipper to not abandon his work off the ball.
Here’s what Arteta said in his press conference yesterday…
Arteta: Aubameyang cannot forget his defensive duties
The Arsenal boss said, as per The Evening Standard: “That’s (work off the ball) non-negotiable. If we want to play the way we want to play, our forward players have to keep putting the pressure on that ball every single time.
“And that moment changes the momentum of the game [against Newcastle] a little bit, because a few minutes later we score the goal again in another high-pressure situation after regaining the ball and being set in the final third.
“That’s what I demand. To put the ball in the net or not, sometimes it’s a case of millimetres, a second – Auba has that capacity and he hasn’t lost that capacity. So what he cannot lose is the rest, thinking, ‘I am not going to do a little bit of that [defensive work] now to score more goals’.
“It doesn’t work like that. It works, for me, in the opposite way round because he has had four opportunities to put the ball in the net [against Newcastle].”
Arteta wants his players to press from the first minute to the last. Aubameyang, who mostly plays up top these days, has to lead that press from the front, and that takes a lot of out him.
However, there’s no getting out of it. Arteta wants Aubameyang to work as hard as he possibly can off the ball – irrespective of whether he scores or not. That’s not ideal for the Arsenal skipper, but he’s more than capable of doing it.
It will be interesting to see if Arteta goes with Aubameyang against Manchester United tonight. The Gabon star was replaced by Alexandre Lacazette last weekend, and the Frenchman would arguably be the better choice against Michael Carrick’s system.
However, if recent games are anything to go by, it will be Aubameyang again leading the line.