Arsenal’s Ghabonese talisman Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored his 20th Premier League goal of the campaign when he netted yesterday against Leicester City.
This made him only the second Arsenal player to score 20 goals for the club in consecutive seasons which is a terrific achievement in and of itself.
Aubameyang is adored by the Arsenal faithful and it is evident that Mikel Arteta relies a lot on the forward. Not only because of his goalscoring ability but because he is seemingly a very important figure in the dressing room.
I definitely don’t want to take anything away from the striker’s success but on paper, he has joined a very exclusive bracket but this all begs the question: Is Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang a world-class striker?
Let’s first get a brief overview of his goalscroing prowess over the years and I then move on to my analysis on his overall contribution at the clubs he has played for.
What Is Aubameyang’s Current Goalscoring Record?
If you look at Aubameyang’s goalscoring record without applying any context, you will probably be amazed.
The striker has scored 260 goals in 499 competitive club appearances. On top of that, as part of the Gabonese national team, he has 25 goals in 63 matches.
This is all very impressive and the reason why football fans generally don’t feel the need to debate on whether Aubameyang is a top striker.
After all, the stats are there for all to see.
But there are a few things that give me pause and I detail them in the next section.
Why Is There Even a Debate on the Subject?
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is your arachetypical modern striker. He boasts electric pace, has a very good poacher’s instinct, and is extremely technically gifted.
Simply put, the striker is the dream of every football fan right now. It’s no surprise that Arsenal fans worldwide were thrilled to have him when he arrived from Borussia Dortmund.
He had already built up a reputation as one of the top strikers in Europe after his amazing record of 141 goals in 213 appearances for the Dortmund side.
And his return of 64 goals in 103 games for Arsenal should not be underestimated by any means.
Since arriving in North London, the striker has always been in the running for the top goalscorer prize and has probably been Arsenal’s most important player in the past two years.
However, we must acknowledge the fact that he has also missed a lot of goalscoring opportunities since joining the Gunners.
He was the leader in the “Big Chances Missed” category last season with no less than 23 obvious goalscoring opportunities missed.
He has definitely improved on that front this campaign and with five games to go until the end of the season, he only has 9 to his name.
But as is the case with everything in football, you can’t simply rely on stats.
Aubameyang’s style and ability cannot be disputed but the real top strikers are the actual leaders of their respective teams.
Scoring against Leicester yesterday put him up next to Thierry Henry but everyone who has watched the Frenchman play for Arsenal will know that he was so much more than a goalscoring machine for the Gunners.
His Gabonese counterpart seems to not have this in his locker. He is more than capable of scoring from nothing but regularly carrying his team the way Thierry Henry did doesn’t look possible for him.
Simply put, Aubameyang is a brilliant talent but we only see his maximum potential when the team is clicking.
I don’t think he is a player you turn to when the going gets tough.
He was terrific in Klopp’s rock-n-roll Borussia Dortmund side and is Arsenal’s main goalscoring threat currently but there have been quite a few games in which he is practically non-existent on the pitch.
I can’t give a categorical answer to the question from the title but one thing is for certain – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is no Thierry Henry.