Arsenal host Valencia in arguably their most important fixture of the season thus far. Reaching the semi-final of the Europa League represents a genuine chance to both pick up some silverware and gain a place in the Champions League. With their recent Premier League form nothing short of disastrous, this game has become increasingly important.
A player they will most certainly turn to is £56m signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who has been clinical in front of goal this season. However, the Arsenal forward arguably hasn’t received the plaudits he’s deserved. It raises a prominent question – is Aubameyang this season’s most underrated player?
The striker was signed in a big money deal in January 2018. It’s fair to say he hit the ground running, scoring 10 goals in 13 appearances. The return offered much promise going into Unai Emery’s inaugural Premier League campaign.
In fact, the attacker started the season in style, claiming October’s Player of the Month award after scoring five goals in three games. Incredibly, the Gabon striker only started one of these matches. However, despite continuing to score, the former Dortmund ace has rarely received the plaudits that he seemingly deserves.
The attacker has scored 19 league goals and assisted five in 34 games this season. With just two games remaining, he is still in with a shout for the golden boot. Importantly, only Sergio Aguero has a better goal to minute ratio.
That’s pretty good going.
Analysing Aubameyang’s position this season, he has a distinct disadvantage. This is because the striker is often deployed on the wing and has six times made an appearance from the bench. According to TransferMarkt, he has been utilised as a winger in 12 of his league appearances this season. It would certainly have been interesting to see the figures if he had played solely as a striker.
Theo Walcott syndrome, anyone? We joke, of course, but why not give him a chance?
It’s clear to see the quality the forward possesses, but he was the only player in the top four Premier League goalscorers list not to be nominated for Player of the Season. Yes, Arsenal are not in the title race where the others are. But perhaps that adds validity to his quality.
Indeed, the lethal African forward doesn’t have the same luxuries around him that Sergio Aguero, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane have.
He is two goals off the lead in the top scorer’s list. This is despite playing 500 minutes less than Salah, 350 minutes less than Mane and having 22 shots less than Aguero. Perhaps those who criticise the striker should take another look at the stats. They are indeed compelling.
Aubameyang must be considered the most underrated in the Premier League this season.
What do you think Arsenal fans? Is Aubameyang the most underrated player in the Premier League this season? Comment below.
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