Mikel Arteta admits Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s prolific goalscoring record means the Arsenal striker is no stranger to criticism during barren spells.
Aubameyang scored in the Gunners’ opening-day victory at Fulham but has failed to find the back of the net in any of their subsequent four league games.
The Gabon star – who has scored 72 goals in 115 Arsenal appearances – signed a new contract last summer worth a reported £350,000 per week.
With expectations of Aubameyang at an all-time high, the Gunners captain appeared to hit out at his doubters on social media this week, writing: “A lot of bla bla bla. At the end, we speak as usual.”
The 31-year-old followed up his Instagram post by netting the winner as Arsenal came from behind to win their Europa League group-stage clash at Rapid Vienna on Thursday.
Discussing the weight on Aubameyang’s shoulders, Arsenal boss Arteta said: “No [I’m not surprised by the criticism], because expectations for him are that he has to score a goal every game so this comes with the nature of the big player that he is, what he has done in the past.
Where does Aubameyang rank among the best Premier League forwards? Have your say here.
It has been a hectic season so far – so make sure you don’t miss a single thing by signing up for the brilliant new Mirror Football newsletter!
All the latest transfer news and big stories will land straight into your inbox. You won’t miss out.
To sign up, put your email at the top of this article or follow the instructions on this link.
“People expect that from him in the future. We are here to help him with that, and we will support him when difficult times come around him.”
Arteta added: “Yes he needs to get in more goal scoring opportunities, he needs to get the ball more round the box, in order to do what he is able to do like.
“[Against Rapid Vienna] he was promising. I said to him before the game, go out and win us the game, and he did it.”
Aubameyang has featured centrally and on the left wing under Arteta, who knows there will inevitably be a discussion about his best position if he fails to score.
“That’s always going to happen,” Arteta said. “The moment he does not score, he needs to play as a 9.
“If you play him as a 9, why don’t you keep him on the left because he has been so successful on the left. It’s going to happen I know.”
Sign up to the Mirror Football email here for the latest news and transfer gossip.