Aubameyang sends another painful reminder to Arsenal amid Barcelona upturn
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang left Arsenal for Barcelona under regrettable circumstances in the January transfer window and has since reminded his former club what they are missing
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was among the goals again as Barcelona continued their fine form in La Liga by thrashing Athletic Bilbao on Sunday night.
The former Arsenal captain, who left the Emirates under acrimonious circumstances in the January transfer window, opened the scoring at Camp Nou with an acrobatic effort following a corner.
It took Aubameyang’s tally to an eye-catching five goals in his last three games for Barcelona, adding to his hat-trick against Valencia last weekend and strike against Napoli in the Europa League in midweek.
The Gabonese striker, 32, appears to have rediscovered his best form at Camp Nou after a turbulent first half of the season with Arsenal during which he only scored four times in 14 Premier League appearances prior to his exile by Mikel Arteta.
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The Gunners manager stripped Aubameyang of the captaincy in mid-December due to a disciplinary breach and he never represented the club again.
There was huge uncertainty surrounding the player’s future throughout January before he eventually sealed his move to Spain.
Some fans hoped Arteta could mend the relationship but there was no such reconciliation and the decision to let Aubameyang depart for free despite having 18 months remaining on his contract proved a divisive one.
On one hand, Arsenal made plenty of room on their wage bill by offloading the former Borussia Dortmund star, who was believed to earn £350,00 per week in North London.
On the other hand, they left themselves without their top goalscorer over the last four years and hugely short of options up front, as well as across the squad as a whole.
Aubameyang found the back of the net 92 times in 163 appearances for Arsenal after his £56million arrival from Dortmund in January 2018.
His move to Barcelona has helped the Blaugrana put together an improved run of three wins in four La Liga games after a troubled start to the season.
They have also progressed to the Europa League last 16, scoring a total of 19 goals in the six games Aubameyang has featured in.
Conversely, goals continue to prove hard to come by for Arsenal and they have not scored more than two times in a game in 2022.
Arteta led his side to a 2-1 win over Wolves on Thursday night but they left it very late to snatch all three points through Jose Sa’s own-goal.
Alexandre Lacazette was guilty of squandering a number of chances and Eddie Nketiah made little impact off the bench, while both strikers are out of contract this summer.
All of this is of little consequence for Aubameyang – even though he watches his former teammates – as he continues to impress in Catalonia.