FT English Premier League Preview: How will Aubameyang fair during a full EPL season?
Some call him Arsene Wenger’s gift to Unai Emery. Pierre Aubameyang was the last (mid-season) signing made by the Frenchman before he called time on his long career at Arsenal. There is a lot of hype around the forward and what he is capable of doing. I guess this comes naturally after he claimed Arsenal legend, Thierry Henry’s famous number 14 shirt. The question we try to answer here is how will he fair in a full English Premier League season as compared to other forwards.
The Gabonese international is a well-known predator in front of goal. He scored a total of 23 goals in 29 matches across all competitions in the 2017/18 season. This obviously includes his contribution in Germany before the turn of this year and his record-breaking start in the EPL for Arsenal. He was brought in with a huge pedigree because he managed to outscore some of the best strikers in the world like Robert Lewandowski in the Bundesliga. Now, he has moved to England for a new challenge.
The top goal scorer in the previous season was a fellow African, Mohamed Salah, of Egypt who scored 31 goals in 38 matches. Although he scored more than Pierre, the Arsenal man has a better shooting accuracy with 61% and also a better goals-per-match ratio with 0.77. Salah stands at 44% and 0.69 respectively. This on its own, proves that the Gabonese forward is a more efficient goalscorer than the person who lifted the Golden Boot accolade at the end of last season.
It is undoubtedly going to be interesting how Aubameyang will fair in a full season against other top goalscorers in the league including Sergio Aguero, Harry Kane, the above mentioned Mohamed Salah and Romelu Lukaku. The new Arsenal coach, Unai Emery, has been preaching about hard-work and is trying to find a new way for the team to play after being used to the tactics of Wenger for 22 years. The recent pre-season friendlies have shown that the team is becoming quicker in transition, which makes them deadlier on the counter. These tactics certainly suit a player of Aubameyang’s abilities whose pace is unquestionable. He managed to score a hattrick against Boreham Wood in a thumping 8-0 victory for the Arsenal. He managed to achieve all of this without the creative genius of Ozil and Mkhitaryan on the pitch. Just imagine how much more he can accomplish with those deadly passers of the ball on the pitch.
I think that Pierre will be a contender for the Golden Boot award in the English Premier League this season. He has already proved that he can do it in England, and can do it better than Salah so there should not be any reason to doubt his abilities in front of goal. However, there are some worries about his contribution in recent weeks after seeing that the new Arsenal coach is deploying the striker on one of the flanks. Against, Boreham Wood, he played on the left and against Atletico Madrid in the International Champions Cup, he was drifting to the right. This might limit his chances in front of goal and might affect his final standing as far as the top scorers' list is concerned. Who else will be the part of the attacking squad this season?
Romelu Lukaku is also in his second season with Manchester United and has adapted well to Jose Mourinho’s style of play. He scored 16 goals and provided 7 assists for the runners-up in the league. His position in the team is almost guaranteed as the club does not have another out-and-out striker to compete with him for his place in the squad. If he remains fit this season, he will certainly challenge Aubameyang to the top spot on the scoring charts.
Harry Kane is a proven goalscorer in the English Premier League. He has scored more goals in every season since the 2013/14 season. He was the top goal scorer for two years running before Salah came back to England. His Tottenham side is suited for a striker of his abilities and he will be sure to bang in goals. The Englishman seems to be more motivated by goals than trophies which makes him a threat to Aubameyang. He will give it his all to be the highest goalscorer in the league after managing to achieve this feat in the previous World Cup hosted by Russia.
Last but certainly not least. Sergio Kun Aguero. He plays for the defending champions, Manchester City, who won the league with 100 points last season. He scored a total of 21 goals in the league despite being dropped to the bench for Gabriel Jesus on a couple of occasions. Some pundits argued that he was the best finisher in the league, and rightly so, but that was before Salah and Aubameyang came onto the scene. Will he have enough to lift his first golden boot award since 2015?
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