Former Arsenal midfielder Emmanuel Petit has warned manager Mikel Arteta about his tactics and the damage they appear to be doing to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
The Gabon international has been one of Europe’s most deadly strikers for a number of years now, but is currently suffering a poor run of form after being moved out onto the left-hand side by Arteta.
Arsenal fans will no doubt be concerned about a top player like Aubameyang struggling like this, and Petit also seems unconvinced by how Arteta has approached it.
The Frenchman, speaking exclusively to Ladbrokes at its launch of the 5-A-Side Bet on Crystal Palace v Chelsea, pointed out how often Arteta seems to change his tactics around, and has noticed that it seems to be affecting Aubameyang’s confidence.
“For me, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is a striker, so he should play up-front,” Petit said.
“Yes, his speed means he can do a good job playing from the left-hand side. But this guy has to stay very close to the opponent’s box, not out wide where he has to get back and defend.
“He’s scored so many goals throughout his career, but when you lose that little bit of confidence, you’re not the same player and I think that’s what we’re seeing from Aubameyang at the moment.
“When you’re not playing the same position every week, it doesn’t help. I don’t know how many times this season Mikel Arteta has changed his formation, changed his starting line-up, I understand he’s trying to find a winning formula but that won’t work for every player. Not every player has the same level of intelligence to go out and do a job one week in one position, then do as good a job the next game in a different position.
“Some players aren’t the same in terms of personality, so you need to be very careful with the position you put some players in.”
Arsenal surely need to go back to basics a little bit and use Aubameyang in his best position, because it’s hard to think of a bigger waste of talent than forcing this expert finisher out onto the flank, where he can’t get as close to goal and has to use up a lot of energy tracking back.