Paul Merson frustrated with Mikel Arteta’s use of Arsenal star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Mikel Arteta's Arsenal have failed to score in their last two Premier League matches
Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal have failed to score in their last two Premier League matches (Picture: Sky Sports)

Paul Merson admits he has been left ‘frustrated’ by the recent performances of Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and believes Mikel Arteta needs to restore him to a central striking role.

The Gabon international ended months of speculation surrounding his future by signing a new long-term contract earlier this summer but his form and influence has deteriorated since he put pen to paper.

Aubameyang has gone five league games without a goal for the first time since 2014 and his only goal since the opening weekend of the new season came in last week’s Europa League win over Rapid Vienna.

The 31-year-old has largely been deployed on the left wing from the moment Arteta took over from Unai Emery but Merson feels it is time to ditch that experiment ahead of Sunday’s heavyweight showdown against Manchester United.

He told Sky Sports: ‘They’ve got some talented footballers. I find Aubameyang, I find him frustrating. He plays out on the wing and if it isn’t going well I think he needs to be inside, he needs to be down the middle and involved in the game.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang hasn't scored a Premier League goal since the opening weekend of the season
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang hasn’t scored a Premier League goal since the opening weekend of the season (Picture: Getty)

‘He can drift out of the game and then all of a sudden he’ll pop up and score a great goal and be on the end of it or something.

‘But I need him in the game more, I need Aubameyang, he’s my talisman and too many times it’s too easy for a team to mark him out of the game.’

After winning their first two matches of the campaign, Arsenal have stuttered in recent weeks and slipped to their second defeat in succession at home to Leicester last weekend.

Despite signs of improvement, Merson cannot envisage his old club breaking into the Champions League places this season amid some unlikely competition.

‘Something’s got to change soon,’ he added. ‘It’s the Arsenal and now we’re looking can they get into the top six.

‘In an open league like it is we talk about Wolves, Leicester, Leeds I can’t say it doesn’t roll off my tongue that Arsenal are in it. Wolves are a dark horse but I don’t see Arsenal being a dark horse.’

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