Mikel Arteta insisted he is pleased with the performances of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang ahead of this weekend’s north London derby, and has faith his captain will find his goalscoring touch once more.
Following a long, drawn-out contract saga in the summer of 2020, Aubameyang signed a new deal to stay at Arsenal, but flattered to deceive last season, scoring just 10 league goals all campaign, having found the net on 22 occasions in the league the previous term.
Aubameyang also had disciplinary problems last season, missing his side’s clash with rivals Tottenham after turning up late for the match. However, speaking ahead of the Gunners’ north London derby clash with Tottenham on Sunday, live on Sky Sports, Arteta wanted to move on from that incident, and is adamant he likes what he sees from his skipper.
“Well, that was just an incident that I had to make a decision over and I did on the day,” Arteta said. “We as a team have some ways of working together, and this (Aubameyang’s actions) weren’t how we do that, so we made a decision.
“I think now he’s been in really good form. I think the way he played at Burnley, even if he didn’t score a goal, was extraordinary, the way he played for the team. So we expect him to do the same (on Sunday).
“He will (score more goals) and he’s generated the chances. We have to generate more and we have to put him in more goalscoring positions which we know how he’s going to end up in. He’s in good form.
“You need a special moment and details. A lot of things decide these types of fixtures and big players step in.”
Arsenal go into Sunday’s clash having won their last three games in all competitions and have a fearsome home record against Spurs, having lost just one of their last 28 home league games to their north London rivals.
The occasion is not lost on Arteta and he will try to get across such an opinion to his players.
“I will make sure that they (the players) understand what it means, the history between the two clubs,” Arteta added.
“It is why we’re feeling like this and what it means emotionally to two sets of our supporters. You have to play the game with a slightly different skin, because there is a bit more at stake.
“I can’t wait to have that experience (with fans) after such a long time without them.”
With Arsenal sitting 13th in the Premier League table, Arteta highlighted just how strong the English top flight has become, claiming it may be at the peak of its powers.
“Compared to three, four or five years ago, this is a different planet now, this Premier League,” Arteta added. “It has never been as strong as this.
“It is the strongest league in the world, in history, in my opinion, because of the quality of the teams, the quality and the evolved organisation, how the league has developed, the quality of the coaches and the players that are joining this league. It’s never been that strong.
“I wouldn’t be able to play at this level, it is so much stronger.”