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Talking Tactics

Players set to star in 2018/19: Aubameyang

20 May 2018
Arsenal v Burnley

Adrian Clarke says the Arsenal forward should be viewed as a contender for the Golden Boot next season

Adrian Clarke is looking at players who, after limited contributions in 2017/18, can make a big impact in the 2018/19 Premier League.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Based on his performances so far, Arsenal supporters have a right to be excited about the impact Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang can make in 2018/19.

The striker signed from Borussia Dortmund in late January settled in quickly, scoring 10 goals and providing four assists in just 13 PL appearances for Arsenal.

He made a direct contribution to a goal every 75.6 minutes, which whets the appetite ahead of his first full season at Emirates Stadium.

Best minutes per goal involvement*
 2017/18  Goals + assists Mins/goal involvement
 Salah 42 69.5
 Aguero 27  72.9
 Aubameyang 14  75.6
 Sterling 29 89.4
 Kane 32 96.3

*minimum 10 goals

Fabulous finishing

As much as Aubameyang’s goal count, it was how he scored them that caught the eye.

It began with a diagonal run and a dinked finish against Everton. But what marked much of his finishing afterwards was his ability to adjust quickly to half-chances.

There was an instinctive flick with the outside of his right foot at Brighton & Hove Albion and fine finishes on the stretch against Stoke City, Southampton, West Ham United and Huddersfield Town. 

The way he quickly adjusted his feet to score against Burnley and Leicester City also impressed.

Aubameyang is equally comfortable finishing with either foot and his conversion rate of 41.7 per cent marks him out as an efficient finisher.

Best shot conversion rate*
 2017/18  Goals  Conversion rate (excl. blocks)
 Aubameyang 10 41.7%
 Vardy 20  33.9%
 Milivojevic  10  32.3%
 Wood 10  29.4%
 Salah 32  28.8%

*minimum 10 goals

Indeed, Aubameyang missed the target with just five of his 24 efforts on goal. This makes him officially the most accurate shot-taker in the division.

Best shooting accuracy*
 Player  Goals  Accuracy (excl. blocks)
 Aubameyang 10 79.2%
 Wood 10  70.6%
 Jesus  13 70.2%
 Hazard 12  69.8%
 Lacazette 14 68.6%

*minimum 10 goals

Deadly double act

Towards the end of Arsene Wenger’s tenure as Arsenal manager, he experimented with Aubameyang playing on the left of the attack, with Alexandre Lacazette as centre-forward.

A few observers were surprised, but Aubameyang performed well in that position.

While fulfilling his wide-man duties he still popped up inside the penalty area on a frequent basis.

Dual role

This dual role as a second striker gave him more direct involvement in the action than as a lone front man and his relationship with Lacazette flourished.

Aubameyang created two goals for the Frenchman, who assisted one in return.

The twin threat they posed lifted their team-mates, while also striking fear into opponents, who could not handle Arsenal when the two strikers were paired together.

Aubameyang stats with Lacazette 
 Aubameyang  Total
Minutes 303
Goals 12 
 Mins/goal 25.5
 Goals/match 3.5
Remarkable returns

Arsenal were devastating when these two strikers were on the pitch.

The Gunners' average of 3.5 goals per 90 minutes when Aubameyang and Lacazette played together exceeds the average of 2.8 that Manchester City scored in a record-breaking season.

If that rate was extended for a full season, Arsenal would have scored 135 Premier League goals.

Of course, we cannot expect this level to be sustained over 38 matches, but it is a cause for excitement for Arsenal fans. 

If he carries on next season as he did for the second half of 2017/18, it will be a surprise if Aubameyang is not a contender for the 2018/19 Premier League Golden Boot.

Also in this series

Part 1: Players set to star in 2018/19: Benjamin Mendy
Part 2: Players set to star in 2018/19: Kelechi Iheanacho
Part 3: Players set to star in 2018/19: Ruben Loftus-Cheek
Part 4: Players set to star in 2018/19: Florian Lejeune

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