LONDON: Arsenal mentor admits hat-trick hero Aubameyang is key to Arsenal’s success.
Mikel Arteta believes Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is back to his normal self after registering his first Premier League hat-trick in Arsenal’s 4-2 win over Leeds.
Aubameyang played through the middle on Sunday, now has five goals in his last four Premier League appearances, more than he had scored in his previous 16 games, and after a difficult season at the Emirates, is rediscovering the form that made him Arsenal’s key man in previous years.
“I thought he was superb today (meaning yesterday), he’s been training really good the last week or so, he was back to normal, he looked really committed in training, really hungry,” he said.
And his manager Arteta says Aubameyang has shown both in training and on the pitch that he is back to his best and that the 31-year-old holds the key to Arsenal’s success going forward.
“I am delighted for him, he deserved it. We know that’s a big part of our future success is related to Auba being at his best and scoring as many goals as possible. If he is in that type of form, we are going to be closer to winning football matches, that is clear.
“We cannot just rely on him, but he is a big piece of our puzzle. And you could see that today that when he is firing he is a difficult player to play against.”
Asked why he decided to play Aubameyang in the No 9 slot, Arteta said: “We have the option depending on the game, the opponent. I thought he could be a good option today, and it worked well.”
Arteta also had praise for Martin Odegaard, the January loan signing from Real Madrid, who made his first Arsenal start on Sunday.
“Big credit to him to play his first Premier League start against Leeds after not playing a lot of football in the last three months,” said the Arsenal boss.
“To run the way he did, how comfortable and creative he was on the ball and the personality he showed in the game was great.
“The amount of chances we created and the type of goals we scored today really pleased me. The attacking patterns we had today, the confidence that the team had against a team that is constantly pressing you to be comfortable to get out of this situation. Overall, a lot of positives.”
Arsenal now face Benfica in the Europa League round of 32 first leg on Thursday at 8pm, before hosting Man City on Super Sunday at 4.30pm.