Former Arsenal man Paul Merson has urged Mikel Arteta to make changes to his Arsenal set up in order to bring the best out of Willian and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
The Gunners have made an indifferent start to the Premier League campaign, winning four and losing four games so far. That leaves them 11th in the table as things stand.
As well as their inconsistent results, the form of Willian and Aubameyang has also become a concern.
Willian made a fine start to life at the Emirates, providing two assists on his debut in a 3-0 win over Fulham. He has failed to register a single goal involvement since though, despite starting six of Arsenal’s seven league games.
Aubameyang, meanwhile, has also been much less of a threat in front of goal. The striker has just two Premier League goals this term, one of which came from the penalty spot. For comparison, he had netted seven times by the same stage in 2019/20.
As two of Arsenal’s main forward, their underwhelming displays have left the Gunners looking somewhat toothless. Arteta’s side have scored just nine goals in total, with only the current bottom three, Fulham and Wolves hitting less.
And reviewing their performances, Merson has urged his former club to find a way of getting more out of them.
“Willian was unbelievable at Chelsea last year. For me, he was probably one of the best Chelsea players. He was phenomenal – an outstanding talent.
“He has gone to Arsenal and he looks lost. They have got to get him performing.”
The Brazilian scored nine goals and set up a further seven for Chelsea last season before making the switch to North London.
“Something has got to change”
Merson also suggested that Aubameyang needs to be moved into a central position if he is start finding the net again.
The 31-year-old has been deployed out wide so far, with Alexandre Lacazette up front. But Merson believes that starves Aubameyang of possession in crucial areas.
“When Aubameyang is out on the wing, he can go 15 minutes without touching the ball,” Merson added.
“You can’t have your star player going that long without touching the ball. How many goals would Jamie Vardy get for Leicester if you played him out on the left wing? Not as many as he gets now, that’s for sure.
“Defences are starting to work him out. They are starting to nullify the threat from him from out wide and making life hard for him.
“They are stopping the cut inside and shot into the far corner. Something has got to change. At the moment, he’s not seeing enough of the ball where it matters.”
Arsenal will be back in action on Sunday afternoon when they travel to Elland Road to take on Leeds United.
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