Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s attitude slammed by John Barnes

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang started Arsenal's Europa League quarter final first leg against Slavia Prague on the bench
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang started Arsenal’s Europa League quarter final first leg against Slavia Prague on the bench (Picture: Getty)

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s attitude when the going gets tough neatly encapsulates the systemic flaws in the Arsenal squad, according to Liverpool legend John Barnes.

The Gabon international’s goals powered the Gunners to a surprise triumph in the FA Cup last season and, after months of speculation, the former Borussia Dortmund star committed the remaining peak years of his career to the north London club by signing a new deal.

Aubameyang claimed to have found his spirtual home at the Emirates Stadium and spoke of creating a lasting legacy, but the club captain has struggled to maintain the lofty standards he has set since moving to the Premier League in January 2018.

The 31-year-old was dropped from the starting XI for the recent win over Tottenham for a breach of discipline and was again relegated to the bench last night for the first leg of the Europa League quarter final tie against Slavia Prague.

Aubameyang was introduced with 20 minutes remaining and helped create the goal which looked as though it would secure Mikel Arteta’s side a narrow advantage ahead of the return game, before Tomas Holes headed in a stoppage time equaliser.

Arteta Slavia Praha press conference

Although Aubameyang was not culpable in the build-up to an avoidable setback, Barnes, speaking before the game, questioned the striker’s leadership qualities and an attitude that undermines Arteta’s attempts to restore Arsenal to their former glories.

He told BonusCodeBets.co.uk: ‘You can see that Arteta is trying to instil a much more professional and determined attitude, even in superstar players like Aubameyang.

‘He needs everyone to pull in the right direction rather than his players thinking ‘we’re Arsenal, we’re superstars and even if we don’t win the manager is going to get the blame so we don’t need to perform.’

‘Arsenal don’t just need one leader in the team, they need to look at their whole environment, the fans and everybody must back the manager in charge, and whether you’re Aubameyang or a young player they must respect the manager in charge.

‘At Manchester City, the superstar players there cannot step out of line and show any kind of disrespect to the manager or they won’t play – at Arsenal, they don’t do that.

‘Some of the players, like Aubameyang, don’t have the right attitude when things aren’t going well – attitude, commitment and determination are such a big part of things and if Arsenal were to get that right they’ll improve.

‘I don’t think Arsenal have the right balance in their squad. Odegaard and players like that are good when things are going well for the team, but what was clear against Liverpool was that the team is quite frail.’

MORE : Mikel Arteta provides Martin Odegaard injury update after Arsenal draw with Slavia Prague

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