The latter is a huge fan of the Gabon international’s goalscoring excellence, but Durham feels he’s a ‘glorified goalhanger’ who should be moved on.
“How many strikers like Aubameyang – they score goals, but that’s it, they don’t do anything else – how many successful teams carry an Aubameyang? None,” Durham declared on talkSPORT [10/12; 16:39]. “Can Arsenal really afford to carry a player who doesn’t work hard for the team?”
Gough fired back: “Well they can if he’s in the right positions and they get their build-up play right, he will score you goals.”
Durham wasn’t having any of it, however, calling the 30-year-old: “A glorified goalhanger”.
Who is in the right here?
Both of these men make decent points. Durham’s right that not too many top teams now carry strikers who only score goals and who aren’t involved in the build-up play. Harry Kane is an all-rounder, as is Roberto Firmino, Tammy Abraham and Sergio Aguero.
The statistics show, though, that Aubameyang doesn’t do what they do in terms of the whole picture. As per WhoScored.com, Aubameyang is averaging just 22.5 passes per game, which is a ridiculously low tally. His pass success rate is a woeful 71% and all.
The fact that he’s got only one assist this campaign and averages only one key pass an outing tells you that he isn’t particularly involved in the Gunners’ build-up play.
However, Gough’s right that he makes the difference at the sharp end of the pitch. It’s not his job to create, really, just to finish chances. And in that, you have to say, he’s flourishing.