Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is rediscovering his best form after his recent problems on and off the pitch and the Gabon striker’s resurgence gives the team a better chance of being successful, manager Mikel Arteta said on Friday.
The 31-year-old Aubameyang scored twice, including a late winner, as Arsenal beat Benfica 3-2 on Thursday and 4-3 on aggregate to reach the last 16 of the Europa League.
Aubameyang’s form has been patchy this season and he missed three games to visit his ill mother but Arteta said those problems were behind the player as his side prepare to visit third-placed Leicester City in the Premier League on Sunday.
“Sometimes when you go through difficult moments, you… get into a sad mood and that’s the worst thing you can do, because nobody has to feel sorry for themselves,” Arteta told reporters.
“What you have to do is get upset, get angry, work harder and approach the situation and face it. Face the challenge in a way that creates more motivation and more hunger to do it and I think in recent weeks I’ve seen that reaction.”
Arteta said Aubameyang was getting into better positions on the pitch and hailed his movement in recent games.
“The week before when we played Benfica, he had three big chances and I’m not worried about him missing because I know if he gets in those positions he’s going to be scoring consistently – this is what he has to demand of himself,” he added.
“If we have Auba at his best, as a team we obviously have a much better chance to be successful.”
Arsenal are 11th in the table with 34 points from 25 games, 15 points adrift of third-placed Leicester and 11 off the top four in the Champions League qualifying places.