It feels nice when somebody recognizes you for your good work. Even if it’s just your name on an “Employee of the Month” plaque, everybody likes to feel appreciated.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored five goals and added an assist in October, enough to get his name on that proverbial plaque. Come to think of it, there probably is an actual plaque somewhere, but I digress. Aubameyang is the first Arsenal player to win Player of the Month honors since Olivier Giroud did it way back in March of 2015. In case you were wondering, the award is determined by a panel of voters and a 10% fan vote. We can just skate right past the fact that the award itself is literally a colored box with words on it.
PEA scored two against Fulham (and had his assist), two against Leicester, and one against Crystal Palace. What’s impressive is that in both games where he got a brace, he was a post-60th minute substitute. Perhaps more impressive is that he has done his damage playing somewhat out of position off the left rather than as an out-and-out striker.
That said, his numbers are still down this season. According to understat.com, his shots per 90 is significantly lower at Arsenal (both this season and last) compared to when he was at Dortmund. His xG per 90 is also down - .29 less than last season at Arsenal, .56 less than last season at Dortmund. Interestingly, his conversion percentage in the Premier League is basically the same this year as it was last (north of 30%), whereas in the Bundesliga he converted at a 22% clip last season.
So would the real Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang please stand up? Is he a player on the decline or is his usage out of position at Arsenal dragging his numbers down? Or, is the dip in the underlying numbers (but not the overall goal production) due to Arsenal’s unsettled midfield and new system?
Potentially concerning statistics aside, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had a great October and is tied with Sergio Aguero and Eden Hazard for the league lead in goals. He has been a joy to watch this season, especially his partnership and friendship with Alexandre Lacazette. Seeing them having fun on the pitch makes watching Arsenal more enjoyable.