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Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has said the squad is feeling “much better” under the leadership of new manager Mikel Arteta.
The Gunners have endured a campaign to forget so far, as they sit down in 10th place in the Premier League table, having won just six of their 25 top-flight matches in the 2019-20 season.
Much of those struggles were pinned on former manager Unai Emery, who was given his marching orders in November. Arteta has since come in and has seemingly steadied the ship, albeit the team are not yet firing on all cylinders on his watch.
Following the club’s winter break training camp in Dubai, Aubameyang said the mood has been better at the club since the appointment of the former midfielder, per James Benge of Football.London.
“He’s doing very well,” the Gabon striker said of the new boss. “We are improving every day. We’re feeling much better than the beginning of the season. [The Dubai trip is] a good one for the spirit of the team. We’re feeling well and have great facilities. We try to improve every day.”
The Gunners were last in action on February 2, when they were held to a 0-0 draw at Burnley. That was their 13th draw of the campaign, with the team struggling to turn positions of parity into three points.
Had it not been for Aubameyang this season, then the team’s plight may have been even worse. As Squawka Football noted recently, the striker has comfortably been the team’s most likely source of goals this season:
Squawka Football @Squawka
Arsenal’s goal-scorers in the Premier League this season:
14 – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
5 – Alexandre Lacazette
3 – Nicolas Pépé
2 – David Luiz, Sokratis
1 – Calum Chambers, Lucas Torreira, Gabriel Martinelli
The 30-year-old is still on 14 goals for the Premier League term, a haul that puts him in the hunt for the competition’s Golden Boot again. Last term, Aubameyang was the joint-winner of the prize, with Liverpool duo Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane finishing alongside him on 22 goals for the campaign.
Aubameyang said it’s an ambition to win that accolade again: “Yes. Why not? First of all, I always say the most important is the team and our targets. Then if I can be top scorer it’s cool. For the moment we try to get some wins and that’s the most important.”
Arteta has not got Arsenal surging up the table yet, although The Tactical Times have been impressed by some of his work:
The Tactical Times @Tactical_Times
It’s not to suggest Arteta has been brilliant, he hasn’t. But he has approached the task correctly. Arsenal needed a kick up the arse, and I think he has given them that. There is a lot more intensity in their game. That’s key, I feel. What they need is sessions and minutes. Time
Aubameyang will be crucial if the Gunners are to finish in a European qualification berth, as both a goalscorer and a leader.
The forward was linked with a possible switch to Barcelona during the January transfer window and it’s likely he will be subject to further speculation up until the end of the campaign. With his contract set to expire at the end of next term, dealing with Aubameyang’s situation will be one of the biggest challenges facing Arteta this summer.
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