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Welcome to World Class: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

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Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is living proof that a player doesn’t need to win league titles year after year to be considered world class.

It certainly helps, but whether or not you play for a championship winning team or not doesn’t affect an individual’s ability to make a difference, especially if they are the flagship and talisman of their club, like Aubameyang is. at Arsenal since the day of his arrival.

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Aubameyang’s goal carries Arsenal since 2018 | GLYN KIRK / Getty Images

Aubameyang has never played for what could be considered a truly elite club, of which there are a few in Europe’s top domestic leagues. But that never stopped him from scoring goals at a prolific rate for those he played for.

In six seasons from 2014, when Robert Lewandowski left Borussia Dortmund and was able to emerge from the shadows of the Pole as the best shooter, until the end of 2019/20 he scored 195 goals. in a club. That’s an average of over 32 per season – and never less than 25 in any given campaign.

It’s a remarkable consistency, able to do it for a Dortmund side that are not at their former peak or future potential, and for a knee-deep Arsenal side in a messy transition period.

For comparison, Harry Kane entered the scene for Tottenham in 2014 and scored 183 goals in the same period. Meanwhile, Karim Benzema, recently dubbed France’s greatest striker by Zinedine Zidane, has secured 138 for Real Madrid in those six seasons.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Aubameyang has scored 195 goals in the past six seasons alone | Shaun Botterill / Getty Images

Aubameyang scored those goals and maintained that level even as he switched league in a January window, joining Arsenal from Dortmund in 2018. It’s nothing to sniff out when it’s notoriously difficult to settle in a new country, especially in mid-season.

Some players might drown under the pressure of being their club’s only hope, but Aubameyang was the reason 2019/20 wasn’t Arsenal’s worst Premier League and finished it with a major trophy under the shape of the FA Cup. Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester United were objectively better teams, but neither had such a decisive talisman as Aubameyang.

Without him, Arsenal wouldn’t have done as well as they ultimately did, when they wouldn’t have a chance to expect even tougher times. The Gunners are in a mess, but with a world-class scorer anything is possible.

Dortmund enjoyed a similar boost in 2016/17 when they finished third in the Bundesliga, but Aubameyang scored not far from 50% of their league goals.

Auba defeated Robert Lewandowski in the Bundesliga in 2016/17
Auba defeated Robert Lewandowski in the Bundesliga in 2016/17 | Ronny Hartmann / Getty Images

Aubameyang scored 10 early goals for Arsenal in his first half-season there, making him the club’s second-highest scorer despite just 14 appearances. He scored 31 in all competitions in 2018/19, sending the Gunners back to a Europa League final thanks to tied performances against Rennes and Valencia, while 22 in the Premier League secured him a Golden Boot share. with Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah. , the leaders of Liverpool in search of the title.

Aubameyang was named Arsenal captain midway through the 2019/20 season and his goals were absolutely crucial. In all the Premier League games he has scored, the Gunners have lost only once, proving how valuable he is and how effectively he carried an entire club on his back.

At one point Arsenal slipped into the bottom half of the Premier League table, but it was Aubameyang who practically single-handedly kept them alive. In the final stages of the FA Cup, he made the difference against Manchester City and Chelsea.

A sorry Arsenal had lost 3-0 at home and away to Manchester City in the Premier League and had taken just one point from their two meetings with Chelsea. Aubameyang’s brace at Wembley took City out of the cup in the semi-finals, as they scored two more in the final against Chelsea.

Fittingly, it was him as the captain who managed to lift the trophy, although you should definitely judge him on his purpose and leadership rather than his ability to hold a trophy in the air, dropping the famously cut to the Wembley turf before he could push it over his head in celebration.

For Arsenal, the prospect of losing Aubameyang because his contract was expiring quickly was inconceivable. In the absence of a deal, he risked leaving as a free agent in 2021, prompting the Gunners to make him not only the highest-paid player in their history, but also the Premier’s best-earner. League with a new £ 375,000 per week. treat.

“Auba actually doesn’t have any real weaknesses outside of his fashion style,” Jurgen Klopp joked in 2019, after seeing firsthand the player’s transformation into an elite striker at Dortmund.

“He’s grown incredibly and become a goal machine and I have to say his finish is amazing. Combine that with speed and it’s really interesting.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, David Luiz
Arsenal won the FA Cup because of Aubameyang | Marc Atkins / Getty Images

In 2019/20, Aubameyang’s Premier League goals directly contributed 20 points for Arsenal. No other player in the entire division has gained more points with his goals, showing how lost the Gunners would be without him and how he has now become their only hope.

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