Mikel Arteta defends Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang amid goal drought

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang hasn't scored in his last four Arsenal appearances
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang hasn’t scored in his last four Arsenal appearances (Picture: Getty)

Mikel Arteta is confident the goals will soon flow against for Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who is in the midst of a rare drought.

The Gunners skipper began the new season in typically deadly fashion, scoring against Liverpool in the Community Shield and putting the seal on a convincing 3-0 victor over Fulham on the opening day of the Premier League campaign.

Aubameyang subsequently ended months of speculation over his future by signing a new long-term contract last month, but has failed to find the back of the net since putting pen to paper on a three-year deal worth £250,000-a-week.

Arteta has continued to station his leading marksman on the left of a three-man attack, resisting the temptation to play him through the middle with Willian was deployed in an unfamiliar central role during Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Manchester City.

Rather than considering playing Aubameyang up front, however, Arteta insists the onus is on the Gabon international’s teammates to feed him and get him into areas where he can cause maximum damage to the opposition.

‘With all the strikers if you ask when they don’t score for two or three games if there are concerns in my opinion the performance was not [a cause],’ he said ahead of tonight’s Europa League opener against Rapid Vienna.

‘He could have scored again on Saturday in a one-vs-one situation that normally he does. It’s trying to get in better positions as frequently as we can to try to give him the best possible chance.’

Arsenal got the final of the Europa League two seasons ago but were eliminated in the first knockout round last term by Olympiacos in March in heartbreaking circumstances.

With competition for a place in the top four of the Premier League as intense as ever, Arteta will be treating Europe’s second tier tournament a seriously as possible.

He added: ‘We are very excited to be playing back in Europe again after a difficult season where we had to earn our right to play here through winning the FA Cup.

‘It’s a big bonus for us. We want to make the best out of it and every competition that we are involved in. Our aim is to try to win it.’

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