What a Signing, but How to Get the Best out of Arsenal’s new Super CF?


Who is Aubameyang? He is a prodigious goal scorer. There are few of them on this planet. A good fraction of his goals are tap ins. So far this season in all competitions, he has three times more goals per game, from inside the 6yds box than Aguero or Lacazette (WhoScored). Rarely does he score goals from outside the box. He is blessed with a blistering pace and for a man standing 6ft 2ins tall, his incredibly quick reaction and amazing acceleration are quite surprising. In the 30 meters sprint he posted a time faster than Usain Bolt’s (maybe hand timed which isn’t very accurate but which still tells a story) having clocked it in 3.7 seconds. He is brilliantly equipped to be there first. And he knows it and uses it.

He can smell a goal quicker than anybody else and has an uncanny sense for knowing where to be for the final touch. Capping it all, he’s got ice cold nerves in front of goal as well as the biggest grin you ever saw.

If you look elsewhere you find him a bit in the shadows. His tackling numbers are low (0.3 pg). So also his dribbling (0.5 pg). He averages 18.7 passes per game compared to Aguero at 24.5 (all stats WhoScored, all competitions 17/18). He does not go into duels for duel’s sake, but where he senses his lightening quickness would dispossess his man, he steps out. His mind is cunning and alert. A beast of the jungle as it were, crouched, waiting, off radar. Suddenly it is all electricity and bang and yang! Auba has scored yet again. The experts say we are damn lucky to have acquired him literally for the value of about 21 times his weight in gold! They say that’s cheap for a breed like him.

Auba’s genius is centered around his ability to get behind the back line ; with ball on feet, with off the ball runs and with runs without the ball, in each utilizing his athleticism and his acute sense of timing.

BALL ON FEET: Ball on feet and the tiniest of opennings, Auba is gone. If an opposing defence plays a high line to back its team’s high press it leaves itself at the mercy of Auba’s pace. If the defence drops deeper, the team loses its high press structure and otherwise finds vast spaces between its lines. His presence on the field puts teams in a quandary and places the onus on them to adjust. This rhymes perfectly with Wengerism.

OFF THE BALL RUNS: Auba loves playing off the shoulders of the back line. When a through pass is made, he utilizes his quicker reaction and powerful acceleration to get ahead of his markers through to one on one with the keeper. You bet your money he is the king of the one-on-one-with-keeper stats. We’ve already witnessed a number of these in the two matches he has played for us with only slight margin calls counting against more prime goal opportunities for him. When our our players have decoded his lightening quick reaction and his initial bust of speed they would know that all they need do is put well weighted balls between defenders at every opportunity. Luckily, we need no tweaking here as our team is awash with technical and visionary passers of the ball; Ozil, Wilshere, Mkhitaryan et all.

RUNS WITHOUT THE BALL:  This is where the team needs to be tweaked for him. He scores a chunk of his goals at the far post from balls across the face of the goal. The typical of such crosses comes from a player in the wide areas who has gotten behind the opposition back line to place the ball between the retreating defenders and the goalkeeper. Auba (completely without the ball) is able to race into the no man’s land ahead of everyone. Usually he heads towards the far post.

This model situation arose three times in our match against Tottenham but unfortunately in two of them, Mkhitaryan crossed the ball poorly with his weaker left foot as he was playing on the left wing and so messed the golden opportunities up. The third occasion was when Lacazette screwed narrowly wide against Spurs. Had he known the first thing about Auba he would have placed the ball across the face of goal. Auba had raced in, all set for his trade mark tap-in. Three tap-ins missed because we were not properly set up for or (in Laca’s case) educated in, Auba’s patterns.

What adjustments do we make to our current team to play to his (Auba’s) strength? Very little.

If it is a back 4 formation we adjust by doing away with inverted wingers to play a left footer on the left and a right footer on the right. This way our wide men can get the ball across the face of goal quicker and more accurately.

On the other hand, if it is a back 3 where wing backs are used we could persist with the inverted inside forwards (eg Mkhi or Laca left inside, Ozil or Wilshere right inside). The wing backs are then used for getting behind the opposition back line.

Expect Auba every now and then to be the one that has bridged the back line in a wide area. In such an instance we should have men busting their lungs racing towards the far post turning Auba into the provider (easy to conjure up visions of Ramsey). How I wish Wenger would sanction drills on a few moves, these two last described in perticular. If some automatisms would give us a few more goals, well and good.

With our present personnel, the back 3 formation is my preference. My choice of it here is not because of defensive consideration. It is chosen so the team can play to Aubameyang’s strength, chosen for more goals in our favour. But for it to be meaningful we must have excellent offensive wingbacks. Kolasinac is a wingback made for going forward and he would suit Auba’s patterns perfectly. Bellerin has got to improve with his crosses. Maitland-Niles looks like he could grow quickly in that position and to my thinking should be used to give competition to Bellerin. Maitland-Niles has good speed which has equipped him for the forward runs. All he need acquire is getting right the timing of his crosses into the no man’s land. Or is it the Auba’s land?

A typical selection and formation that would play to Auba’s strength, when all are available (less Santi), would be:

—Kosh  Musta  Nacho—
Bells  Xhaka  Ramsey  Kola

This arrangement, in my opinion, would optimize our present team’s potential. There is still a lot of work to do in our central midfield, defence and goalkeeping. Those are personnel issues that must wait for the next transfer window. If we can get them right, we would be fully back and swinging.

Meanwhile we should live for the next game. More than ever, now is the time for OGAAT. Please chip in with suggestions on how to get Auba firing on all cylinders.

Click on link below for video of Aubameyang and goals! We’ve got someone special in our midst.



By Pony Eye.

28 thoughts on “What a Signing, but How to Get the Best out of Arsenal’s new Super CF?

  • Superb depiction of Auba’s attributes and how we can the best of him, PE. Your passion for the man’s ability is clear for all to see.

    I agree with all you have to say and I hope we will get the best out of him. Having said that, I am underwhelmed with the lack of involvement with our build up play and miss Lacazette, or even Giroud, a lot in that respect. I have noticed that Giroud is playing very Giroudesque for the Chavs at the moment and other attackers are benefitting from this. That is how it should have been at Arsenal but Sanchez never suited this/wanted this and Ozil is not focussed enough on goal scoring to have made this work. We are going for a different system now but it remains to be seen whether it will work for us.

  • Scored on his debut, peripheral on his 2nd appearance, at Wembley, Cup-tied for the Ostersunds double header, what will ManCity make of it all, will Aubameyang surprise Peps boys?

    No Mkhitaryan, probably no Ramsey, Wembley is going to be an unforgiving place if Wenger goes with a back four and all it’s associated risks, full backs both bombing on, no defensive cover for the centre-backs, central midfield switching off, our centre-backs hung out to dry, it’s gonna be a nail biting experience, I can’t wait…. 🙂

    Great post PE, I too really like Aubameyang, I’m kind of pinning my Cup final hopes on him having a game to remember, positively of course. He needs the right service, the service that a quick mind like Ozil can deliver, I hope that Jack is fit as he and Mesut play well together and Jack can also find those intelligent passes.

  • TA,
    I subscribe to your point. What places City apart is that they have goal scorers all over the place: Aguero, Jesus. Sane, Kevin, Sterling. There is no way of keeping this horde out for 90 mins. Exactly why I’d want Laca and Auba playing together plus Rambo and Mkhi whom I believe is not poor with goals.

    I suspect the summer World Cup pushed Giroud to leave, otherwise he would have stayed the season. There is little doubt that we are introducing a new system hinged more on movements but I expect the rebuild to be completed by the summer. This rebuilding can be perceived even at the managerial level, Mislintat and co. I think it’s time for us to move on. As some say, we are no more top 6, we are 6th. And that’s not good enough.

  • Kev,

    I don’t get the ‘no Mkhitaryan’. Haven’t heard he is out.

    Musti and Kos are stalwarts enough. Only they are unsupported and unprotected by our full backs and central defense respectively. Back3 is a compromise but back 3 should have outstanding wing backs. Do we have them?

    Yes Ozil, Wilshere, Mkhi are there to supply the outstanding Auba but against City he might be isolated and marked out of the game. We need runners to take attension off him. That’s why I’d go with wingbacks using the Tank one one side and Bells on the other.

    City can’t be kept out with 2 banks of 4, so the best bet might be to go for a toe to toe encounter.

  • Hi all.. Great post PE..
    Yes we all love Aubameyang.. Cause he will suite us with ease..
    But I don’t like your team.. hehehe..

    First.. I insist that Ozil must play as CAM with three players in front of him and two behind him.. Hehehe.. Three our last games had proved my theory.. Hehehe.. We won with ease when we played the 4-2-1-3 / 4-2-3-1 formation.. With Ozil as our CAM..
    And if we also did the same against Spurs.. The result would be different..
    Second.. I will put Elneny first, rather than Xhaka or Wilshere..
    And hope Kos and Ramsey will be fit for the game..

    So the good news after our win 3-0.. we can rest most of our best players against Outer-sound in Emirates.. We can focus on City..
    Iwobi, Nelson and Nketiah can be our trisula in front..
    Xhaka, Wilshere as our midfielders
    Niles, Holding, Chambers and Bellerin as our back four.. Or we can add Mavropanos as our third CB.. Can’t wait to see him playing for our first team..

  • Appreciate the deep dive PE into which we need to retool our attacking mindset– to maximize Auba’s best traits. After the UEL confidence-builder last Thursday; and a likely similar outcome Thursday next? The squad should be doing almost nothing but– drilling on the ways to deliver him chances.

    Don’t believe the behaviors change all that much. Our attackers had been conditioned in Pavlovian fashion to deliver the ball to the upper-left quadrant of the pitch on every possession for 4 years. True, those instincts require learning new cues But the bases are in place.

    The real departure? Is in those attackers realizing the changes they make, which benefit Auba’s strengths? Also involve their own best abilities. What we saw in Bellerin when he first replaced Debuchy. What Kolasinac flashed for us in the games following his arrival. What glimpses we’ve seen from Iwobi.

    It’s all there waiting to be deployed. Coaxed onto the pitch again. Aubameyang, enticing it all.


  • Chan,

    The team in the post is just ‘typical’ for playing to Auba’s strength which can be interpreted as emphasizing elements that can stretch the field so Auba can have spaces that he can attack with his pace. There can always be modifications of the selections depending on the character of the opposition.

    I understand your concept of 3 men ahead of Ozil. The more men he has ahead of him, the more options for his passes. Great. But what, when the opposition has the ball. In that deeper role he has to defend stoutly which we know he can’t. That’s the snag.

  • PE, I’m sure I read somewhere that he’s Cup-tied, I’m not 100% on that, but I guess he must have played for ManU in one of the earlier rounds of the League Cup.

  • jwl,

    Yes the Pavlovian conditioned reflex. I suspect that’s the major difference between Pep and Wenger. Pep insists on rigid patterns (same as drills), Wenger prefers freedom as soil for an intelligent pattern to germinate and grow to maturity. Time constraint makes Pep’s the more pragmatic route.

    That’s why why am advocating tweaking the team and not the individuals. Change the team’s pattern and get the personnel that would fit the new pattern best aka Ramsey’s dash to the far post.

  • TA,

    You just reminded me. Mkhi is Carabao Cup tied. Mkhi, Ramsey and Laca all out. That’s a shame.

  • I don’t think it is too bad. PE. In midfield we can pick from Elneny, Xhaka, Jack (and M-N), up-front we can pick from Auba, Ozil, Iwobi, Welbeck and Jack. With Auba threatening to run behind the defence and five midfielders to battle it out with MC’s midfield, we will have a good chance to get something from the game. Citeh will fear our counterattacking football yet will not able to help themselves, as they will want to dominate us in our own half. I reckon we will give them a game as long as we play compact and disciplined and don’t show too much respect. The game against Spuds will have taught the manager and players a few lessons in this respect.

  • Ah, City on the horizon. But fear not. Let’s step back 14 weeks.

    It’s early-November, and the ManCity juggernaut had reached full steam.
    Arsenal went to the Etihad, where Arsene first made use of the formation (that to this point, IMHO) matched-up best with the front-6 attack that overwhelmed the likes of Stoke (7-2) and Watford (6-0).

    I remember the catcalls. When the lineups were announced and Francis Coquelin was pencilled-in at CB ( https://www.premierleague.com/match/22445 ). Insanity!

    But it came as close to working in stopping City– still, as anything yet (other than their own profligate shooting on one other occasion). Had it not been for Raheem Sterling’s diving acumen providing a PEN to go 2-0– and a later offside call (DSilva had a yard’s worth of light between he and the last defender) passing to Jesus for a tap-in to go 3-1? The defence had carried out what was necessary– what was instructed– to blunt the powder-blue hoarde.

    Cannot state that Arsenal would have somehow won. But surely would have loved to have witnessed a match at 1-1 — after Lacazette leveled in the 65th minute. That possibility was made null by Michael Oliver’s (unneccesary) call and his linesman’s (incompetent) non-call.

    We played for 25+ minutes further and held– where other teams have been overwhelmed before and since.

    So? Does Arsene go back to the formation (with Elneny at CB/semi-CB)? The tactic worked well vs Chelsea in the Caribou Cup semi-final second leg ( http://www.skysports.com/football/arsenal-vs-chelsea/teams/386990 ) after the central defense had been carved up early. Elneny then shifted deeper from MF, and Chelsea did not score again.

    Just as last May when Chelsea required the FA Cup to elevate their PL triumph to a double? City needs this silverware to place emphasis on the greatness of their accomplishment this season.

    Where the prediction of a 3-0 or 4-0 drubbing was on every pundit’s and punter’s lips in May? Can Arsenal beat City– and the bookmakers– again?


  • We Need To Play Auba And Laca Together With Ozil Suppling Will Get More Goals Laca Will Get His Confidence Back With Auba Im Postive We Are An Attacking Team Lets Put Our Best Strike Force No Need Of Holding Back I Believe In Arsenal Laca Is A Star

  • Arsenal.com posting something about Fekir, Ozyakup and Meyer.. For our summer list..

    I’m surely don’t mind the Ozyakup and Meyer coming for free.. They can make our DM more solid..

    Fekir for 45M.. Is it a great deal..??
    Is he better than Malcom or Lemar..??

  • Hi all..
    After they lost to Wigan in FA.. Will City change their players for UCL and Carabao Cup against us..??

  • So I was reading about (not yet having seen) Anthony Taylor’s straight red card for City’s Fabian Delph at 45+2′ vs Wigan during their 1-0 FA Cup match win yesterday.

    And I’m thinking there must be some gray area– some question as to Delph’s challenge.
    Until I located video. There’s no question. Studs up, and head on.

    Delph should be banned for this Sunday.

    Sergio Aguero might face a ban for hitting, then chasing after a fan– when the pitch was invaded post-match.

    Pep Guardiola charged at Wigan Manager Paul Cook in the tunnel leaving the playing area at halftime. Appears that Pep put his hands on Cook or was restrained from doing so.

    One component of being a champion is acting the part.
    Particularly when a result goes against.
    If the likes of Mourinho can be banned for an assault on a water bottle?
    If our own Manager can be banned for entering the referee’s dressing room?

    There’s little for the FA to do– but ban Guardiola.


  • What a surprise.. 8 free transfer and 19M pounds team beat City.. 349M team.. Super banget.. Hehehe..

    It recall my memory about another possible free players whom we can get.. Ozyakup and Meyer.. Hope we can finalize that..
    Are there any good and free players avaliable..?? Hehehe..

  • Wow.. Luke Shaw, Ibrahimoniv, Mata, Herrera, Carrick, Felaini, Blind and Young from MU are all a free agent players.. Hehehe..

  • Delphi being suspended isn’t going to be a massive problem for City this Sunday.
    But the manner of City’s defeat could well be a problem for Arsenal?

    We’ve already got a major job on our hands as it is, trying to contain a City team that has been in rampant form this season and a cup upset doesn’t change that I’m afraid.

    What it does do is make Guardiola and City frustrated, angry and looking for some form of payback and that isn’t something we should be glad about, because we could well reap the whirlwind this weekend if City take their frustrations out on us…

    City now have the best part of a week to prepare, we’ll have a couple of days after Ostersunds, so it wouldn’t surprise me to see Willock, Nelson and Ntekiah start against the Swedes this Thursday.

  • Kolasinac, Mkhitaryan, Wilshere, Holding, Chambers, Ospina, Mavropanos, Maitland-Niles, DaSilva, in the running for the starting XI, possibly Gilmour and Dragomir?

    It should be an interesting game.

  • Banget juga Ko Henry. We should play tight and close down the defense.

    Kev, we should see a mix of first teamers and youngsters against the Swedes, but we should not be overconfident. See how Citeh got kicked out of the FA cup.

  • Kev.. You forgot to put Willock there..
    I bet either Kolasinac or Niles will play as our LWB.. With 3-4-3 scheme.. Or must I said five defenders.. Why..?? Because we lack of midfielders as Ramsey still injured.. And Niles isn’t good enough for DM..
    We need Ozil, Wilshere and Elneny for City..

    So My team for UEL second legs will be :
    Iwobi – Nketiah – Mhiki
    Niles – Xhaka – Willock- Nelson
    Holding – Mavropanos – Chambers

    JK.. We must go with our youngsters.. We don’t have any choice.. Only two to four seniors may included.. Ospina, Xhaka and Mhiki plus Iwobi (can’t see him as senior but neither also junior.. Hehehe..)

  • HenryC, I refer you to my previous comment 12.46, but yes, I expect Willock and Ntekiah and Nelson to be heavily involved this Thursday…

    TA, I will get my thinking cap on.

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