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Mikel Arteta affirmed the importance of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to Arsenal, insisting that having the forward in his prime is vital to the future of the club.
Aubameyang marked his first Premier League start since January 18 with his first hat-trick in the competition, surpassing 200 goals in Europe’s top five leagues in the process when Arsenal beat Leeds United 4-2 on Sunday.
After opening the scoring in the 13th minute, Aubameyang doubled his tally from the penalty spot, the goal that made him the ninth player to score 200 times in Europe’s elite divisions since his Ligue 1 debut in 2009.
Héctor Bellerin added a well-crafted third before Aubameyang completed his hat-trick within two minutes of the second half, though Pascal Struijk and Helder Costa responded to scare Arsenal off.
It was the first time that Arteta’s team scored four goals in a league match at Emirates Stadium since July last season, and after what has been a start and stop season for Aubameyang, due to injury issues and For personal reasons, the Gunners boss reiterated the importance of 31 years.
“I thought he was excellent today, he has been training very well the last week or so, he returned to normal,” Arteta said at a press conference.
“He looked really engaged in training, really hungry and he had a great performance today, not just because of the goals but the way he worked without the ball and the way he worked with every Leeds defender, he set the tone.
– AUBA (@ Aubameyang7) February 14, 2021
“We know that a big part of our future success is related to Auba being in his prime and scoring as many goals as possible.
“If he’s in that kind of shape, we’ll be closer to winning football games, that’s for sure. We can’t trust him, but he’s a big piece of our puzzle and you guys saw today that when he’s shooting, he’s a difficult player to face ”.
With Alexandre Lacazette on the bench, Aubameyang started in his preferred central role on Sunday and duly delivered the merchandise.
The former Borussia Dortmund star had a maximum of five attempts, with three of them on target and another hitting the crossbar at the end.
He also created two chances, behind only Raphinha from Leeds (three), and Arteta was delighted that his decision to play Aubameyang down the middle was a fruitful one.
“We have the options depending on the game and the options and the area we want to explore,” he added. “I thought today might be a good option and it worked well.”