Arsenal in danger of repeating Arsene Wenger problem with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
For over half a decade now Arsenal have worked on a similar principle just using different names and two different managers.
It wasn’t woking in 2012, still didn’t work in 2016 and in 2019 guess what? It still doesn’t work.
Now, if Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has an off night so do Arsenal.
It’s a wonder Arsenal‘s star forwards don’t complain of excessive backache such is the burden they often have to carry.
Granted, when you have a player who is so talented, like Aubameyang, there will be a drop off to those around him.
Arsenal‘s issue is the margin between the Gabonese star and the supporting cast.
At Bramall Lane, where the Gunners showcased everything negative we have come to know them for, there was a collective pause hoping Aubameyang would jump into life.
For most of this season, even on his quieter days, he has produced a moment which has resulted in a point of even three.
Think back to their late win over Aston Villa with ten men – it was the former Borussia Dortmund man again coming to the rescue.
Great when it works of course, but for how long can one man be expected to win you games.
Unai Emery is working on a high risk, low reward strategy that could, yet again, curtail top four ambitions.
Of course there are so many other elements that need addressing in this Arsenal side, but the Spaniard looks to have taken the approach that scoring more goals than your opposition is an effective way to win games.
In his defence he hasn’t the personnel to consider keeping teams out as a method of picking up three points.
But if attack is going to be your best form of defence at least have more than one man supplying you with goals.
And before the name Alexandre Lacazette gets mentioned, it is worth considering how often Emery opts to play the two together. The Frenchman often plays out of position or appears from the bench.
In Wenger’s final years the reliance on Sanchez was monumental. Images of the Chilean looking to the heavens as if to beg the man above for a helping hand that never came.
Before than, in Van Persie’s final year at the Emirates, his goals were probably the difference between another late top four charge and a possible Europa League push.
Not only were those days symbolic of shortcomings in tactics, sufficient personnel and competent recruitment but they were also catalysts for players simply saying “I’ve had enough”.
Van Persie and Sanchez both quit north London for Old Trafford, admittedly with vastly differing degrees of success.
Aubameyang has shown no signs of wanting to seek pastures new, but every man has his breaking point.
Emery, to his credit again, has tried to provide his lead man with a supporting cast. Nicolas Pepe though is going to win no Oscar unless its for acting like a £72m player.
I’ll go on record and say that Emery is doing probably as good a job as any given the circumstances and transition needed, on and off the pitch, post-Wenger.
But if the players currently at his disposal can’t put their hand up and take responsibility in a game where Aubameyang is slightly off colour then he needs to go again in the market.
Arsenal are right up there when it comes to the club most reliant on one player. And that is a gong no one wants to be receiving.