IT wasn’t just the fact Arsenal couldn’t beat the worst team in the league at home that sank my spirit on Sunday.
It was the way we played that was so finger-gnawingly depressing.
SunSport columnist Piers Morgan thinks Arsenal are missing outcast Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been exiled by Mikel ArtetaCredit: PA
Burnley parked the bus, as was entirely predictable, but despite having human greyhounds like Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka – two of many very talented but also very young and inexperienced players in the team – we inexplicably never found a way to get around it.
Our tactics were shocking, our creativity non-existent, and there were frequent moments when we just stopped running and sloped around like energy-devoid sloths, endlessly tip-tapping the ball from side to side as if too fearful of Arteta’s permanent touchline wrath to try anything more adventurous.
What the situation cried out for was a proper world class striker to take charge and bully Burnley into submission – but Alexandre Lacazette is never going to be that guy.
He’s too nice and not good enough.
No, that guy is supposed to be Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – who’s scored 92 goals in 163 matches during his Arsenal career including seven in 15 this season.
That’s a 57 per cent goals-to-games record, significantly better than all the other strikers Arsenal have had since Thierry Henry broke my heart and left for Barcelona.
Compare that to Alexis Sanchez’s 48 per cent, Robin van Persie on 47 per cent, Olivier Giroud on 42 per cent and Lacazette on a paltry 36 per cent.
In other words, Aubameyang is one of the best strikers Arsenal has ever had, yet right now he’s earning £350,000-a-week to sit at home.
Mikel Arteta has taken weird pleasure in publicly humiliating our best, and best-paid, player, behaving like a particularly smug and intransigent disciplinarian headmaster punishing a naughty schoolboy for reasons that have never been fully explained – but at what benefit to the team?
Aubameyang is one of the best strikers Arsenal has ever had, yet right now he’s earning £350,000-a-week to sit at home.
Piers Morgan, on Aubameyang
Arsenal will finish January with more red cards than goals in the month, an extraordinarily damning statistic.
And spare me all Arteta’s excuses about Covid, injuries and suspensions – every club’s had the same problem during this pandemic, and eight of his first choice XI played on Sunday.
As for his penchant for wielding the under-performance punishment sword, the time is fast approaching when it may need to be wielded on him.
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