Freddie Ljungberg explains Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s recent struggles for Arsenal

Freddie Ljungberg explains Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's recent struggles for Arsenal
The Gabon striker has only netted in two Premier League matches this season (Picture: Getty)

Freddie Ljungberg believes Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s goalscoring form has been hampered by teams working out how to stop him and a lack of creativity in Arsenal’s ranks.

The Gabon striker has been prolific in front of goal since swapping Borussia Dortmund for the Emirates in 2018, though he has only netted two goals in eight Premier League matches this season.

After signing his new contract – worth £350,000-a-week – Aubameyang went on a five-game run without scoring while he has only attempted 10 shots all season, way down on his usual figures.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Arsenal during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Aston Villa
Aubameyang has fired blanks in six of his eight league outings (Picture: Getty Images)

Fans and pundits have questioned Mikel Arteta’s decision to play the 31-year-old on the left wing this season, with Eddie Nketiah and Alexandre Lacazette preferred through the middle, limiting his chances on goal.

Ljungberg worked with Aubameyang both as interim manager and assistant to Arteta before leaving his role in August and does not believe his position is the problem, but rather teams are denying him space in behind.

Asked about Aubameyang’s current woes, Ljungberg told Sky Sports: ‘Because of how Arsenal are set up, it’s quite complex play, so for example Auba comes in and he plays a little bit in the left pocket.

‘And then if another centre-back steps on the real striker, then Auba has somewhere to go in between. And that’s what he does very, very well.

‘But if [opposition teams] play a lower line, there’s not much space for him to run into and that’s where you maybe need like a Mesut Ozil or something to do a little tricky ball, a little short one, that can roll him in.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang West Ham United v Arsenal FC - Premier League
Ljungberg feels Aubameyang would benefit from a player like Ozil (Picture: Getty Images)

‘A little bit of creativity would be needed there to create those things against low blocks.

‘Because when we play against teams with high blocks, I feel like nobody can catch Auba. You can just put it in behind and he will always win that ball.

‘If all teams drop back, it’s a lot more difficult for Auba to play, that’s when you need someone to unlock it a little bit.’

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