Garth Crooks has claimed in his BBC Team of the Week that Arsenal are relying on striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang too much after he scored an excellent winner against Aston Villa on Sunday afternoon.
Unai Emery’s side were slow out of the traps after beating Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League on Thursday, and had to come from behind twice to beat Dean Smith’s newly-promoted side – though they did it with 10 men.
John McGinn put Villa ahead before Ainsley Maitland-Niles was shown a second yellow card before the break. In the second half, Arsenal were a different side. Nicolas Pepe scored a penalty, before Villa’s Wesley put his side 2-1 ahead.
But Calum Chambers equalised, and then Aubameyang scored a sensational free-kick and ex-Tottenham star Crooks believes the Gunners are relying too much on the Gabonese striker – who has scored seven goals in his seven outings this term.
“Since his arrival at the Emirates he has rescued Arsenal’s often abject performances and made them palatable,” Crooks said. Their game against a plucky Aston Villa was poor and they rely far too much on the Gabon international.
“I’ve seen this before when managers use strikers as a get out of jail card and the moment the striker’s goals dry up they are the first out the door. Arsenal owe Aubameyang and when he is struggling, and he will, give him a little latitude.”
TBR’s view – Are Arsenal becoming a one-man team?
Judging on their win against Aston Villa, Arsenal do rely on Aubameyang for his goals – but not so much that the Gunners are becoming a one-man team – and are far from the Arsenal side that relied upon Robin van Persie.
Indeed, against Villa, Matteo Guendouzi was described as a “warrior” by Alan Shearer. A handful of players at The Emirates are just as important as Aubameyang but for different reasons. Whether they can match the striker’s form, remains to be seen.