Arteta must unshackle Arsenal’s £45m-rated gem, Gary Neville thinks he’s “sensational” – opinion

Arteta must unshackle Arsenal’s £45m-rated gem, Gary Neville thinks he’s “sensational” – opinion

Ever since Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang joined Arsenal from Borussia Dortmund a couple of years ago, the big question undoubtedly was how the Gunners could get the most out of both him and Alexandre Lacazette.

The north London side shelled out big money to sign two forwards who had been scoring goals for fun in European football, but with less teams now using a pair of strikers up front, there was a real dilemma.

The likes of Arsene Wenger and Unai Emery flitted between using the duo as a twin strike-force and with one of them playing out wide, whilst current Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has seemingly been fixated on using Aubameyang out from the left.

But with Lacazette still showing no signs of consistency – he bagged three goals in his opening three Premier League games before drawing blanks in his next four matches in all competitions – there’s a real argument to be made now that Aubameyang should be given the nod to start up front.

Speaking last season after his match-winning performance against Everton, former Manchester United defender and current Sky Sports pundit, Gary Neville, waxed lyrical about the Gabon international.

He said: “Including me, we have stopped short of announcing Aubameyang as world class. We’re happy to go with (Sergio) Aguero, we’re happy to go with (Sadio) Mane and (Mohamed) Salah, (Roberto) Firmino, (Harry) Kane… all these players who have graced the Premier League in the last two or three seasons.

“I feel that Aubameyang doesn’t get that same credit and maybe it’s something that comes from when he first entered into English football. I think he’s been absolutely sensational, and I think now’s the time for us all to start recognising the quality and the brilliance of this player. He fights for the team, he’s always there, and for me, he’s everything you would want in a football player.”

Arteta himself hinted that the Gabon international could be set for a run through the middle, saying: “Yes, that’s a very possible thing.

“It will depend on the games, it will depend on who he’s surrounded with. I think it’s very important to see who is around him and why we’re doing it. Not just the fact we’re doing it, why we’re doing that and what we’re going to get by doing these positive things. Of course, there’s a very strong possibility to play him as a (number) 9.”

If Arsenal want to see a different level to their £45m-rated talisman, now is the time to unshackle him from his left wing role, and give him a chance to shine up front.

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