Will the 2021-22 Season Confirm Aubameyang’s Decline?

One of the main reasons for Arsenal’s poor campaign in the 2020-21 season was Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s loss of form in front of goal. The Gabon international only mustered 10 goals across 29 performances, which is simply not good enough for a £56 million signing. The Gunners need their main man firing if they want to have any chance of breaking back into the Premier League’s top four. In the 2021-22 campaign, will the 32-year-old prove that last season was just a blip? Or did that mark the start of his decline?

2020-21 Season was an Anomaly for Aubameyang

Going into the 2020-21 season, nobody could have predicted that Aubameyang would suffer such a drastic dip in form. The France-born sharpshooter has been incredibly consistent throughout his career and maintained his red-hot Bundesliga form when he joined the Gunners in 2018. Aubameyang was the Golden Boot winner in the 2018-19 campaign, when he bagged 22 goals in his first full season for the club. 

After registering another 22 goals in the 2019-20 season, it looked as though Aubameyang was destined to continue guaranteeing at least 20 goals a term for the club. This is thanks to his lethal killer instinct in front of goal that means he can score from a variety of scenarios. The problem in the 2020-21 season was the fact that he simply wasn’t getting into the right situations.

This may have had a lot to do with Arteta’s style of management. The former player had his first full season in charge at the club last time out, and it didn’t go as well as many had hoped. After steering the Gunners to an eighth-place finish, fans will be desperately hoping that the former student of Pep Guardiola can learn from his mistakes. One of those tactical errors was failing to utilise Aubameyang’s attributes in the most effective way possible.  

Some Tough Fixtures to Start

Arsenal have a kind opening game for their 2021-22 campaign, when they come up against newly-promoted Brentford at the Brentford Community Stadium. The Gunners are favourites to win the tie, with odds of 20/21 here at Space Casino. After facing the Bees, though, Arsenal have a couple of tough matches that could have a huge impact on how their season goes.

Mikel Arteta’s men come up against Thomas Tuchel’s Champions League-winning Chelsea side at the Emirates Stadium in the second week of the campaign, before travelling to the Etihad Stadium to face Guardiola’s reigning Premier League champions the week after. If Arteta can get something from these games, it could help his side push on and enjoy a strong start.

If Arteta is to still be in a job at the Emirates Stadium in 2022, he needs to get his big gun firing. On paper, Arsenal’s front three of Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette, and Nicolas Pépé is frightening. But they need to be given more licence to attack. Hopefully, Aubameyang can recapture his best form and propel Arsenal up the table.