When Mikel Arteta was appointed Arsenal manager in December 2019, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was scoring goals for fun.

During his first two years at the Emirates, the Gabon international found the back of the net 43 times in the Premier League - winning the Golden Boot in 2018-19.

In the two years that's followed, though, he's managed just 25 goals. Arsenal's world-class striker has faded into a seemingly average one.

There's no denying Arteta has achieved success during his two years in charge - winning the FA Cup and reinstalling hope into a failing club - but it's come at a cost to his captain's career.

Arsenal have become a conservative team under Arteta's leadership. Last season, they conceded just 39 Premier League goals - five fewer than second-place Manchester United.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has struggled for goals under Mikel Arteta (


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But the Spaniard's team scored just 55 - seven fewer than Leeds. It's never a good sign when a newly promoted team is outscoring you.

That theme has continued into this season. Aaron Ramsdale has already kept six Premier League clean sheets since his move from Sheffield United in August.

But the Gunners have scored just 17 in the league - the same amount as relegation threatened Newcastle. "1-0 to the Arsenal" has become a relevant song again.

As any prolific striker will struggle to score goals in Arteta's defensive side, it's hard to criticise Aubameyang. He needs free flowing, attacking football to prosper.

The Arsenal manager's caution was on display during the team's defeat to Man Utd at Old Trafford on Thursday.

With the visitors losing 3-2 in the 79th minute, Arteta took Aubameyang off. The decision left many perplexed, as managers usually throw strikers on in that type of situation.

"Aubameyang is your captain," said Arsenal legend Thierry Henry. "He is your goal scorer. You put him as your captain.

"15 minutes to go, you’re losing 3-2 and you take him off... you know he can score you goals, so something is not right there."

Arteta has defended Aubameyang in the press, telling reporters he's working hard and the goals will come sooner rather than later.

"You are always [concerned] when your main striker isn't scoring goals but he is trying his hardest," said the coach.

Arteta likes his Arsenal team to play with caution (



"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."

Perhaps it's time, however, for Aubameyang to say goodbye to his beloved Gunners. It's clearly not working out, as the last two years have shown.

And his record is good enough to suggest he's still a quality striker, scoring at least 10 league goals in each of the last 10 seasons.

The Gunners have already started looking for their next forward, as rumours suggest they're considering a move for Everton ace Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

Aubameyang can still be prolific at the highest level but - unless something dramatic happens in the coming months - not for Arteta's Arsenal.

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