football

Mikel Arteta praises Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang amid Rio Ferdinand criticism


Pierre-Emerick Aubamayang failed to register an attempt on goal against Burnley last weekend (Picture: Getty)

Mikel Arteta insists he was delighted with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s contribution during Arsenal’s win at Burnley last weekend, amid criticism from Rio Ferdinand that he isn’t utilising his star striker properly.

The Gunners recorded their second successive victory thanks to Martin Odegaard’s superb first-half free-kick, but again struggled to carve out chances and were left to cling to their narrow advantage in an effort to successfully secure three points.

Aubameyang has been restored to a central striking role this term having spent most of last season on the left-wing, but he has only one goal, a scrappy effort against Norwich, from his four Premier League appearances so far.

Martin Odegaard scored the only goal in Arsenal’s 1-0 win over Burnley last weekend (Picture: Getty)

Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand claimed earlier this week that Arsenal’s style of football was inhibiting Aubameyang and that a change of tempo was required to get him back to this best.

‘I don’t know if the club are playing to his strengths, they need to get the ball forward quicker,’ he told Vibe with FIVE.

‘If they get the ball forward quick and set him off, set him free running through teams… in full flow he is as good as most, he is just an unbelievable finisher.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s only Premier League goal this season came against Norwich (Picture: Getty)

‘When he’s smiling he is on form and he makes Arsenal a considerably better team. They have no else who finishes chances like him.’

Arteta, however, was pleased with Aubameyang’s performance at Turf Moor, particularly his defensive efforts, with his relentless pressing setting the tone for the rest of his team.

‘I was really impressed with Auba as well – I think his rhythm and high pressing was fantastic,’ he told Arsenal’s official website.

‘It was a real commitment and purpose because you can go to try and win the ball or put pressure [on] – but you can tell when you are really doing it or when you’ve been told to do it. 

‘There was a big meaning behind it and when you go to places like that, when you are having difficult moments and you want to start to get results, I think you have to go to those basics and have every single player do that, even the ones that came on.

‘I think they were superb, lifted the momentum of the team and took us to a different level. I think that’s really important.’


MORE : Rio Ferdinand defends Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and calls for Arsenal to play to his strengths


MORE : ‘There is a lot of pressure’ – Paul Merson backs Arsenal to avoid defeat against Tottenham

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