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Everton vs Arsenal: Onus on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to step up as senior stars look to match young guns

·3-min read
Everton vs Arsenal: Onus on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to step up as senior stars look to match young guns

After their defeat to Manchester United on Thursday, Arsenal will want to respond at Everton tonight and nowhere more so is that the case than with their captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

The striker is going through a tough time at the moment and his disappointing display at Old Trafford made it five games in a row without a goal. You also have to go all the way back to May to find the last time he scored away from home in the Premier League.

“You are always [concerned] when your main striker isn’t scoring goals but he is trying his hardest,” said Mikel Arteta.

“He is aware of how much we need him as a team to score goals and at the moment, they are not coming but the rest of the things we are asking him to do, he is trying his best.”

Tonight would be the ideal time for Aubameyang to rediscover his form. Wins for Manchester United, Tottenham and West Ham over the weekend mean Arsenal have slipped to seventh in the Premier League, which is frustrating when victory at Old Trafford on Thursday would’ve seen them break into the top four.

Young players, such as Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe, have been at the heart of Arsenal’s bright run recently, but now the side’s senior players need to step up to the plate.

Arteta made that exact point after the defeat to Manchester United, which once again saw a youngster like Gabriel Martinelli outshine the likes of Aubameyang and Thomas Partey.

“What I said is that the senior players are the ones who have to lead and the younger players are the ones who have to follow,” explained Arteta.

“We need that balance in the performances on the pitch and as well off the field. We are getting that balance right and we have to continue not to rely too much on the rest and this is a team, it’s not two teams that are split, and we need that balance and to manage those moments.”

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Aubameyang’s struggles have led to some questioning his place in the side, but his woes are nothing compared to that of Everton boss Rafa Benitez.

Failure to win tonight would see the Toffees go nine Premier League matches without a victory for the first time since 1994. They have been in awful form during their eight-game winless run, scoring five goals and conceding 17.

Injuries to the likes of striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who is a target for Arsenal next summer, have not helped Benitez but it does feel like the Spaniard is running out of time.

Everton fans are planning to protest tonight by briefly leaving their seats in the 27th minute, which is a nod to the club going 27 years without a trophy.

It sums up the mood at Goodison Park and, on paper, a trip to Everton tonight feels like the ideal chance for Arsenal, and Aubameyang, to get their season back on track.

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