Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang makes honest admission on his performance against Benfica

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang missed three great chances during Arsenal draw against Benfica last week
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang missed three great chances during Arsenal draw against Benfica last week (Picture: Getty)

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang admits he should have ensured Arsenal head into tonight’s Europa League clash against Benfica in a much stronger position had he been more ruthless in the first leg a week ago.

The Arsenal captain squandered three excellent opportunities in Rome to make his side’s superiority count but the Gunners were eventually forced to settle for a 1-1 draw and were rescued by Bukayo Saka’s equaliser.

Mikel Arteta’s side followed up that performance with a largely insipid display against runaway Premier League leaders Manchester City on Sunday, during which Aubameyang was virtually anonymous in a 1-0 defeat.

The skipper’s performance led Sky pundit Jamie Redknapp to claim the 31-year-old was already past his best and had been shorn of his goalscoring superpowers.

In his column in Arsenal’s matchday programme, Aubameyang confessed he was below par during last week’s match but has fond memories of playing Benfica from his Borussia Dortmund days and will draw on that experience to help prolong his side’s involvement in the competition.

He wrote: ‘It was int he Champions League knockout stages, and I had a bad game in the first leg. I didn’t just miss a penalty, I missed all of my chances that first game.

‘The whole way through the game, I was missing a lot of chances. I remember I had three clear opportunities to score and the penalty as well.

‘Ederson was actually the Benfica goalkeeper at that time and I remember that I came back into the dressing room afterwards and I was really upset. Honestly, I think I cried a little bit about my performance and when I went back to Dortmund on the plane. Just before we flew I called my family to speak about the game.

‘I said to them that I’m going to do everything to try to qualify my team in the second leg and I will do it for you, I promise. And then, in the end, I scored three goals at home in the second leg to send us through.

‘I think in Dortmund, when you play at home in the second leg it’s really different and you can change everything in that environment because the fans are unbelievable and they give you this incredible power.

‘I hope something similar can happen tonight. I missed a couple of chances in the first leg last week as well. I should have scored and that would have put us in a stronger position for this game. But we have another 90 minutes to play tonight and get the job done.’

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