With Aubameyang Out, Pepe And Lacazette Have To ‘Step Forward’ – Arteta

Arsenal’s Spanish head coach Mikel Arteta reacts at the final whistle during the English Premier League football match between Crystal Palace and Arsenal at Selhurst Park in south London on January 11, 2020. DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP

 

The pressure is on record signing Nicolas Pepe and Alexandre Lacazette to score goals with Arsenal’s leading scorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang suspended for three matches, according to manager Mikel Arteta.

Aubameyang took his tally to 16 goals in all competitions this season in the 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace on Saturday but was also sent off, earning the suspension at a critical time for the Premier League side.

The dropped points leave the Gunners 11 points adrift of a Champions League spot next season and only seven points clear of the relegation places.

Hence Arteta’s call for both Pepe and Lacazette especially to be more clinical in front of goal for the three matches which will not feature Aubameyang.

They host sixth-placed Sheffield United next weekend and also have a tricky league match with Chelsea as well as an FA Cup fourth round tie away at out of form Bournemouth.

Pepe has yet to live up to his £72 million ($93 million) fee scoring just five times this term while Lacazette has six goals to his name, but has not found the net in six matches since scoring in the Europa League match with Standard Liege on December 12.

“They have to make a step forward now,” said Arteta.

“If he (Aubameyang) is not able to contribute to the team with goals like this, then someone else has to do it and I want to see that reaction too.

“Probably the most important player is missing so it is not nice, but we have other players who can play in that position and we will find a way and be as competitive as possible.”

Arteta’s alternative would be to call on younger players such as Brazilian Gabriel Martinelli, who is Arsenal’s second top goalscorer this season with a tally of eight, although the majority of them have occurred in cup competitions.

Another alternative is the talented Eddie Nketiah, who returned early from his loan spell at Championship side Leeds having failed to secure regular first team football.

“At the moment we have to think mid-to-long term with Eddie,” he said.

“We have to respect his evolution and development and we don’t have to make a decision just based on two or three games.”

 

AFP

Palace Hold Arsenal As Aubameyang Sees Red

Arsenal’s French striker Alexandre Lacazette (L) tackles Crystal Palace’s English defender Martin Kelly during the English Premier League football match between Crystal Palace and Arsenal at Selhurst Park in south London on January 11, 2020. DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP

 

Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang opened the scoring at Crystal Palace on Saturday but was later sent off as the hosts fought back to draw 1-1 at Selhurst Park.

New Gunners boss Mikel Arteta was on course for a third straight win when his skipper made the breakthrough in the first half, but a deflected effort by Jordan Ayew cancelled it out early in the second period.

When Aubameyang received a red card with 23 minutes left, the experienced Roy Hodgson would have fancied his chances of gaining three points against the youngest manager in the league and but had to settle for a share of the spoils.

Arsenal’s difficulties this season were highlighted by the fact this was the first time Palace were facing the Gunners after Christmas in a top-flight match with the Eagles higher in the table.

Hodgson was boosted by the return of Wilfried Zaha after he missed the defeat to Derby with a knock but new loan signing Cenk Tosun was only named on the bench.

Captain Aubameyang was recalled by Arteta after sitting out the FA Cup win over Leeds and opened the scoring at Selhurst Park in the 12th minute.

Mesut Ozil’s licence to roam had already caused the hosts problems and he moved inside to combine with Alexandre Lacazette, who played in his fellow forward to curl into the bottom corner for his 16th goal of the season.

It was a breathtaking Arsenal move, which started with a brave through ball between the lines by David Luiz, and Palace struggled to gain possession during the opening 30 minutes.

Zaha cut a frustrated figure and this was highlighted when he shoved Nicolas Pepe into Lucas Torreira, with the visiting pair needing treatment.

Palace settle

The Eagles slowly settled into the London derby and Cheikhou Kouyate had their first effort of note shortly before half-time, which Bernd Leno unconvincingly parried.

Arteta introduced Matteo Guendouzi at half-time, with Torreira not returning but Palace continued to win free kicks in dangerous positions after the break.

Eventually they made one count, when Jairo Riedewald found Max Meyer in space down the right. His cross was poor, but Kouyate was first to it and set up Ayew, who saw his strike take a big deflection off Luiz and loop over Leno in the 54th minute.

Arsenal’s problems deepened when Aubameyang caught Meyer high on the ankle with a poor challenge by the touchline.

Referee Paul Tierney showed a yellow card but VAR had a look and after a two-and-a-half minute delay, the caution was upgraded to a sending off.

Aubameyang was distraught as he left the pitch in the 67th minute and Meyer had to follow him down the tunnel after failing to recover from the tackle.

That allowed Hodgson to introduce Tosun for his debut, while Arteta withdrew Ozil for Brazilian forward Gabriel Martinelli.

James Tomkins almost produced a winner 12 minutes from time, but his header was cleared off the line by Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Arsenal then almost stole it.

Vicente Guaita came to the rescue though, when he superbly tipped Pepe’s shot on to the post and saved Lacazette’s follow-up in the 83rd minute as it finished all square.

African Players In Europe: Iheanacho And Aubameyang Shine In England

 

Nigerian international Kelechi Iheanacho showed he knows how to make an impact as he came off the bench to drive Leicester to a victory that keeps them as Liverpool’s closest challengers in the Premier League.

Among other outstanding performances by Europe-based African players this weekend, Jeremie Boga opened the scoring for minnows Sassuolo and they went on to hold Serie A champions Juventus to a 2-2 draw in Turin.

ENGLAND

KELECHI IHEANACHO (Leicester)

Iheanacho had a massive impact on his first league outing of the season to turn a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 win for the Foxes over Everton.

The Nigerian came off the bench to set up Jamie Vardy’s equaliser before scoring himself for the first time in the Premier League since September 2018, deep into stoppage time.

PIERRE-EMERICK AUBAMEYANG (Arsenal)

Aubameyang scored twice to salvage a 2-2 draw for Arsenal at Norwich in Freddie Ljungberg’s first game in caretaker charge.

The new Gunners’ captain had fortune on his side after seeing his first take at a penalty saved by Tim Krul only to be handed the reprieve of a retake for encroaching by Norwich players.

Aubameyang was clinical with his second chance from the spot and produced another fine finish just before the hour mark to finish at the back post from a corner.

WILFRIED ZAHA (Crystal Palace)

Zaha scored for the second consecutive game as Palace ended a five-game winless streak with a 2-0 win at Burnley.

The Ivorian caught England international goalkeeper Nick Pope napping with a fierce strike that sneaked in at the near post for just his second goal of the season.

SPAIN

PAPAKOULI DIOP (Elbar)

Senegalese midfielder Papakouli Diop’s goal could not prevent Eibar from losing 4-1 away at high-flying Real Sociedad in La Liga on Saturday.

Diop tucked away Takashi Inui’s pull-back to equalise in the 35th minute at Anoeta but Real Sociedad struck three times in the second half to seal a convincing win as Eibar dropped to 16th in the table, two points above the relegation zone.

LAGO JUNIOR (Real Mallorca)

Lago Junior scored a penalty and Lumor Agbenyenu was sent off as Real Mallorca were beaten 2-1 at home by Real Betis on Saturday.

Ivory Coast forward Lago came on at half-time and gave Mallorca hope of a comeback by reducing the deficit from the spot after Betis had scored twice in the first half.

But they were unable to find an equaliser and Ghanaian defender Agbenyenu was given a second yellow card in injury-time for pulling back Betis Diego Lainez.

ITALY

JEREMIE BOGA (Sassuolo)

Ivorian Boga opened the scoring for Sassuolo in a 2-2 draw at Serie A champions Juventus. The 22-year-old dinked over Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon for his fourth goal this season as 14th-placed Sassuolo claimed their first ever point at the Turin giants who lost top spot in Serie A.

KEVIN-PRINCE BOATENG (Fiorentina)

Ghanian midfielder Boateng returned for Fiorentina after being overlooked for the last three Serie A games with the 32-year-old coming on for the injured French Franck Ribery after the break in a 1-0 defeat to Lecce which piled the pressure on the 13th-placed Tuscany side.

KALIDOU KOULIBALY (Napoli)

A wayward header from Senegalese defender Koulibaly resulted in the equaliser for Bologna, who fought back to win 2-1 in the San Paolo Stadium. Koulibaly headed to clear the ball away from goal but instead Bologna’s Andreas Skov-Olsen latched on to volley in. Napoli are seventh as their winless run extended to eight games in all competitions.

KHOUMA BABACAR (Lecce)

Senegalese striker Babacar came off the bench in the second half of a 1-0 win over his former club Fiorentina. The 26-year-old, on-loan from Sassuolo, missed two chances to score a second goal late, but his side held on for their third win this season.

GERMANY

STRELI MAMBA (Paderborn)

Mamba scored a cracking goal to kickstart a Paderborn fightback against RB Leipzig on Saturday. Although Paderborn eventually lost 3-2 after trailing 3-0, Mamba caused Leipzig’s defence constant problems, with his fifth goal of the season a just reward for the DR Congo-eligible striker.

ACHRAF HAKIMI (Borussia Dortmund)

Moroccan defender Hakimi put in another breathtaking performance for Dortmund, setting up one goal and providing a consistent threat throughout. Hakimi’s cross for Thorgan Hazard’s first-half goal was first class and will have Dortmund’s sporting director Michael Zorc going over the loanee’s contract with a fine-tooth comb to try and prevent his return to parent club Real Madrid.

FRANCE

VICTOR OSIMHEN (Lille)

Nigeria striker Osimhen scored his first Ligue 1 goal since October 6 with a penalty in first-half stoppage time as Lille claimed a much-needed 1-0 win over Dijon. The 20-year-old has scored 15 goals in all competitions for club and country this season.

GAEL KAKUTA (Amiens)

Former Chelsea forward Kakuta scored his first goal for Amiens since returning for his second spell at the club in the close-season in Saturday’s 4-2 loss at Montpellier. The 28-year-old, who previously played for Amiens on loan from Chinese outfit Hebei China Fortune in 2017-18, has played two friendlies for the Democratic Republic of Congo this year.

HABIB DIALLO (Metz)

The Senegalese international continued his prolific form for Metz by scoring in their 1-1 draw at fellow strugglers Nimes. The 24-year-old Diallo, who scored 26 goals in Ligue 2 last term, has now netted nine times in the top flight this campaign and trails only Lyon’s Moussa Dembele in the goalscoring charts.

AFP

Aubameyang Gives Arsenal Winning Start At Newcastle

Arsenal’s Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (L) chips the ball over Newcastle United’s Slovakian goalkeeper Martin Dubravka to score the opening and only goal of the game against Newcastle United. Lindsey Parnaby / AFP

 

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang fired Arsenal to a 1-0 win at Newcastle in their Premier League opener on Sunday, providing hope of an improved run this season for Unai Emery’s side.

The Gunners finished last season in turmoil after blowing their bid for a top-four place with a disastrous spell in the final weeks.

Adding to Emery’s woes, Arsenal were crushed by Chelsea in the Europa League final to shatter their dreams of Champions League qualification.

But Arsenal have enjoyed a profitable close-season, with a host of new signings raising morale around the Emirates Stadium.

And Aubameyang gave Arsenal fans renewed belief they can get back in the top four this term with a typically predatory second-half finish to give the north Londoners a winning start.

Arsenal had a wretched away record last season, keeping just one clean sheet on their travels, so taking three points without conceding was the perfect way to turn over a new leaf.

Their often-criticised defence held firm, with centre-backs Calum Chambers and Sokratis keeping Newcastle at bay.

Aubameyang’s strike ruined Newcastle manager Steve Bruce’s first match in charge of the club he supported as a boy.

Bruce left second-tier Sheffield Wednesday to join Newcastle in the close-season following the departure of fan favourite Rafael Benitez, who had grown tired of a lack of backing from controversial owner Mike Ashley.

Bruce’s appointment was hardly greeted with widespread joy on Tyneside and the season started with Newcastle fans staging a protest against Ashley in the streets and then boycotting the match in large enough numbers to leave numerous empty seats around St James’ Park.

Emery’s decision to leave new signings David Luiz, Dani Ceballos and Nicolas Pepe on the bench was rewarded by a determined, if only sporadically cohesive, display from his team.

There were starts for 19-year-old academy graduates Reiss Nelson and Joe Willock, but Mesut Ozil and Sead Kolasinac were absent after two men were arrested following a fresh incident after the pair were the victims of an attempted car-jacking in July.

Cool finish

Joelinton made his first Newcastle start after his club-record £40 million switch from Hoffenheim and the Brazilian striker needed to impress to lift the gloomy mood on a rainy day in the north-east.

He had his first sights of goal when he flicked a header just wide from Matt Ritchie’s cross and then blasted straight at Arsenal keeper Bernd Leno.

Jonjo Shelvey went even closer for Newcastle as the midfielder hit the outside of a post with a stinging strike.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan squandered a golden chance to give Arsenal the lead, the unmarked midfielder firing wildly over the bar from 10 yards.

After a quiet start, Arsenal star Aubameyang, the joint top-scorer in the Premier League last season, sprang to life when he tested Martin Dubravka with a powerful strike after superbly controlling Mkhitaryan’s long pass.

It was a warning that Newcastle failed to heed as Aubameyang put Arsenal ahead in the 58th minute.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles was the provider, making a timely interception of Paul Dummett’s under-hit pass to Jetro Willems and surging away from inside his own half.

Unfurling a pin-point pass that curled over the back-tracking Newcastle defence, Maitland-Niles found Aubameyang in space and the Gabon striker took a touch before clipping his cool finish past Dubravka.

Ivory Coast winger Pepe, Arsenal’s £72 million club-record signing, and Spanish midfielder Ceballos, on loan from Real Madrid, came off the bench for the last 20 minutes.

The new boys didn’t make much of an impact as Arsenal’s much-maligned defence took the plaudits.

 

Aubameyang, Ozil Star As Arsenal Make It Perfect 10

Arsenal’s Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang celebrates after scoring their second goal during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Leicester City at the Emirates Stadium in London on October 22, 2018. Glyn KIRK / IKIMAGES / AFP

 

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Mesut Ozil stole the show as Arsenal swept to their 10th successive win with a dominant 3-1 victory against Leicester on Monday.

Unai Emery’s side trailed to Hector Bellerin’s first-half own goal at the Emirates Stadium.

But Ozil, captaining Arsenal on his return to the side after back spasms, produced a majestic display to lead the Gunners’ impressive fightback.

Ozil, shrugging off his poor start to the season, equalised just before half-time and played a key role in Aubameyang’s second-half double.

Gabon striker Aubameyang scored twice in quick succession after coming off the bench, ensuring Arsenal won 10 consecutive matches in all competitions for the first time since 2007.

They have scored 30 goals in that blistering streak and climb to fourth place in the Premier League, just two points behind leaders Manchester City.

On the 69th birthday of Emery’s predecessor Arsene Wenger, this was the kind of swashbuckling show that recalled Arsenal’s glory days under the Frenchman.

It was the perfect start to a hectic week that sees Arsenal travel to Portugal for a Europa League tie against Sporting Lisbon on Thursday before returning to domestic action at Crystal Palace on Sunday.

 

Arsenal’s Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (L) celebrates with teammates after scoring their third goal during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Leicester City at the Emirates Stadium in London on October 22, 2018.
Glyn KIRK / IKIMAGES / AFP

 

Emery has made a remarkable impact since replacing Wenger in the close-season.

The Spanish manager’s two-game losing streak at the start of his Arsenal reign is now a distant memory as Gunners fans start to dream of a title challenge after their seventh successive league win.

Initially, Arsenal struggled to get up to speed and Kelechi Iheanacho made a break behind Stephane Lichtsteiner, leaving him trailing in his wake as he cut into the area for a shot that was deflected over by Rob Holding.

Iheanacho threatened again moments later, taking possession on the edge of the area before unleashing a curling effort that Bernd Leno pushed away.

Driving forward 

Leicester had a strong claim for a spot-kick when Holding raised his arm above his head and clearly handled as he jumped to meet Jamie Vardy’s flick on, yet referee Christopher Kavanagh waved play on.

Harry Maguire’s towering header forced a good save from Leno and Leicester’s pressure reaped a tangible reward in the 31st minute.

Wilfried Ndidi’s pass picked out Ben Chilwell, who made a superb run in behind Bellerin and drilled a low shot that deflected off the Arsenal defender on its way past the wrong-footed Leno.

Stunned into action by that setback, Arsenal nearly snatched an immediate equaliser when Granit Xhaka’s free-kick was tipped over by Kasper Schmeichel.

Suddenly, Arsenal were driving forward with purpose and they drew level on the stroke of half-time.

Ozil was the catalyst as his pass sent Bellerin away down the right and when the defender crossed into the Leicester area, it was the German midfielder who timed his run perfectly to guide a delicate finish into the far corner.

Ndidi led the Leicester response with a powerful header that rattled the bar from James Maddison’s corner.

But Emery sent on Aubameyang for Lichtsteiner after 61 minutes and it the match-winning switch paid instant dividends two minutes later.

Ozil played a superb pass to Bellerin and the Spaniard’s low cross was just right for the unmarked Aubameyang to slot home from close-range.

Aubameyang was in the right place at the right time again in the 66th minute as Arsenal conjured up another incisive raid.

This was Arsenal at their finest as Ozil and Lacazette combined to carve open the Leicester defence in a blur of flicks and tricks, presenting Aubameyang with a simple chance to tap in his eighth goal of the season.

Rounding off a depressing evening for Leicester, Vardy was forced off, leaving the visitors, who had already made all their substitutions, down to 10 men for the final minutes.

Aubameyang Hands Arsenal Flattering Victory Over Stoke

Stoke City’s English goalkeeper Jack Butland (L) stops a shot from Arsenal’s Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Stoke City at the Emirates Stadium in London on April 1, 2018. PHOTO: Oliver GREENWOOD / AFP

 

Arsenal warmed up for their crucial Europa League quarter-final with a flattering 3-0 victory against relegation-threatened Stoke on Sunday.

Three goals in the final 15 minutes put a gloss on a largely soporific performance at a well-below capacity Emirates Stadium.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored the first two, including a penalty opener.

Substitute Alexandre Lacazette netted the third, also from the spot, after he had been fouled.

Arsenal clinched back to back league wins for the first time since November.

But the result left both clubs in the same positions in the Premier League table, with Arsenal sixth and Stoke second bottom.

The Gunners will have to play better in the first leg against CSKA Moscow on Thursday in Europe.

With little chance of finishing in the Premier League’s top four, Arsenal must win the Europa League to qualify for next season’s Champions League — a target that looks essential for under-fire Gunners boss Arsene Wenger as he fights to save his job.

Jack Wilshere may have missed both England’s friendlies with the Netherlands and Italy but the Arsenal midfielder recovered from a knee niggle to claim the captain’s armband for the day, with goalkeeper Petr Cech absent and defender Laurent Koscielny on the bench.

Stoke’s preparations had seen Ibrahim Afellay jettisoned by manager Paul Lambert for not trying in training, but Eric Pieters was restored to the starting line-up after being fined for going clubbing before the previous match.

The game’s first chance belonged to Stoke, the team with the greater need of three points, as Mame Biram Diouf laid the ball back to Xherdan Shaqiri, who shifted the ball onto his preferred left foot and curled it inches wide of David Ospina’s right-hand post.

Stoke continued to take the game to the hosts, who were giving away possession cheaply.

Aaron Ramsey and Wilshere were both culpable in the first 15 minutes.

Arsenal almost took an undeserved lead when Stoke goalkeeper Jack Butland produced a punch that will not have improved his chances of being England’s number one in the World Cup.

It landed at Ramsey’s feet on the right of the six-yard box and the Welshman’s hook cleared the goalkeeper and bounced off the top of the crossbar.

Barren desert of mediocrity

It was to prove a shallow oasis in a desert of barren first-half mediocrity however as Arsenal continued to waste possession.

Neither side made any changes in the interval but Arsenal at least began with added urgency, with Danny Welbeck lashing a chance just wide.

Mohamed Elneny saw a shot blocked before Butland dived to deny Nacho Monreal.

Wenger finally made a switch as the fit-again Lacazette came on for Welbeck, while Diouf, having taken a knock, was replaced by Saido Berahino.

Shaquiri curled a right-footer straight at Ospina before seeing a corner deceive the keeper and bounce off the back post.

Aubameyang was denied by a good block by Butland moments before the award of the game-deciding penalty in the 75th minute.

Bruno Martins Indi’s clumsy trip of Mesut Ozil was needless and Aubameyang made him pay as he sent Butland the wrong way from the spot.

Stoke gave Aubameyang too much space for a simple second goal in the 86th minute.

And when Badou Ndiaye bundled over Lacazette in the 89th minute, the France striker was given a chance to convert the penalty instead of Aubameyang going for a hat-trick.

Arsenal Snap Up Aubameyang, Mahrez In City’s Sights

 

Aubameyang and Mahrez PHOTOS: AFP

 

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang joined Arsenal from Borussia Dortmund for a club record fee of £56 million (63.7 million euros, 79.2 million euros) on Wednesday, in the biggest deal so far on transfer deadline day.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger — who last August kept the football world on tenterhooks as he held out selling Alexis Sanchez to Manchester City because he failed to secure Thomas Lemar from Monaco — did not wait until the last minute to land the Gabon striker.

Wenger persuaded the Arsenal board to pay more for the 28-year-old than the £46.5 million they shelled out for Frenchman Alexandre Lacazette last August.

Dortmund have eyed up a six-month loan move for Belgian international Michy Batshuayi from champions Chelsea, who have stipulated there will be no option to buy at the end of that period.

“Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has joined us from Borussia Dortmund on a long-term contract for a club-record fee,” the statement from Arsenal said.

The club described him as “one of the world’s most highly-rated strikers”.

“He scored 98 goals in 144 Bundesliga games for Dortmund and had a hand in 172 goals in 213 matches in all competitions for his former club,” it continued.

Aubameyang’s arrival should see French veteran Olivier Giroud completing the musical chairs by signing for Chelsea even though Wenger was loathe to let him move to a rival as Sanchez joined Manchester United earlier this month.

However, the French striker is keen to stay in London as he seeks regular first team action to secure his place in France’s World Cup squad.

Surprise Mahrez bid

Aubameyang will alleviate the pressure on Lacazette although he would be ineligible for the Europa League having already played in the Champions League this campaign.

Elsewhere runaway leaders Manchester City have lodged a surprise £60 million bid for 2016 champions Leicester City’s Algerian star Riyad Mahrez, who ignored manager Claude Puel’s pleas for him to stay by putting in a transfer request.

However, Leicester are unlikely to let the 26-year-old — who was a key player in their stunning title success in 2016 and who has returned to form this term after a dip last season — leave for less than £90 million.

City have lost influential Germany winger Leroy Sane for up to seven weeks with an ankle injury and with the club competing on four fronts Guardiola suggested he may require a replacement.

“Right now, it’s the same as (Alexis) Sanchez, it’s not the place to talk about it. It’s so difficult,” City manager Pep Guardiola said on Tuesday when asked about Mahrez.

“If things are not possible, then nothing is going to happen. We don’t have too much and we play every three days. We have to find solutions.”

It’s not just the top clubs involved in the frenetic last few hours of a January that apart from Sanchez becoming the highest-paid player in the league — on a reported pre-tax £500,000 a week — has seen City pay a record fee of £57 million for young French centre-back Aymeric Laporte from Athletic Bilbao.

Tottenham too are getting close to signing Brazilian Lucas Moura, who has fallen out of favour at French giants Paris Saint Germain with the arrivals of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.

The 25-year-old has according to reports passed his medical and would be the fifth most expensive signing in the club’s history — PSG would like the majority of the £26.5 million fee paid up front.

Those fighting to remain in the cash-rich upper echelon will also get in on the act with Swansea — whose win over Liverpool saw them move out of the bottom three — seeking to bring Ghanaian striker Andre Ayew back to Wales.

The Swans are hoping to sign the 28-year-old for around £18million according to the London Evening Standard — having sold him to the Hammers for £20.5 million in 2016 — but the London side who have only Javier Hernandez as their one fit striker will want to bring in a replacement.

Watford’s long-time servant Troy Deeney could fill the void and is valued at £16 million to leave the club he has been with since 2010.

AFP

Aubameyang Joins Arsenal For Record Fee

 

 Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang  PHOTO: Bernd Thissen / dpa / AFP

 

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has joined Arsenal for a record fee for the Gunners, a reported £56 million ($79.2 million, 63.7 million euros), from Bundesliga outfit Borussia Dortmund, both clubs confirmed Wednesday.

The 28-year-old Gabon striker, who has scored 141 goals for Dortmund since joining in 2013, signed a long-term contract with the storied London club.

His transfer fee outstrips the £46.5 million that Arsenal paid for French striker Alexandre Lacazette last August. Aubameyang’s arrival is likely to lead to the departure of veteran marksman Olivier Giroud.

“Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has joined us from Borussia Dortmund on a long-term contract for a club-record fee,” the statement from Arsenal said.

The club described him as “one of the world’s most highly-rated strikers”.

“He scored 98 goals in 144 Bundesliga games for Dortmund and had a hand in 172 goals in 213 matches in all competitions for his former club,” it continued.

“That works out at an average of 96 minutes per goal or assist.

“Auba is the Gabon captain and all-time top goalscorer, and became the first Gabonese winner of the African Footballer of the Year award in 2015.”

 

AFP

Five Bundesliga Things You May Have Missed

 

Bayern Munich’s Polish striker Robert Lewandowski (C) celebrates after scoring a goal during the German first division Bundesliga football match Bayern Munich vs Werder Bremen in Munich, southern Germany, on January 21, 2018.    Guenter SCHIFFMANN / AFP

 

Bayern Munich finished the weekend 16 points clear at the top of the Bundesliga after Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Mueller both claimed goal-scoring milestones in Sunday’s dramatic 4-2 win over Werder Bremen, while Leverkusen’s Leon Bailey capped a dazzling display at Hoffenheim by scoring back-heeled goal.

The constant speculation about Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s possible departure to Arsenal is annoying his Borussia Dortmund team-mates.

Here are five things you may have missed from the 19th round of Bundesliga matches:

Aubameyang annoys

Aubameyang was dropped for Friday’s 1-1 draw at Hertha Berlin as Dortmund confirmed they are in talks with Arsenal, with Arsenal’s chief executive Ivan Gazidis in Dortmund on Sunday according to Bild to discuss a move for last season’s Bundesliga top scorer.

The Gabon international’s team-mates are sick of the Arsenal speculation.

“It’s just creating unrest and leaves the whole team shaking their head,” said Andre Schuerrle.

“It’s not easy to turn it all off and focus on football, because off-field there is only one topic.

“It would be nice for everyone if things happen quickly.”

Dortmund reportedly want 60 million euros ($73.3m) for the want-away striker.

Bayern pair hit milestones

Lewandowski and Mueller both claimed goal-scoring milestones by netting twice in Sunday’s 4-2 romp against Werder Bremen.

Mueller now has 100 Bundesliga goals while Lewandowski has hit 94 German league goals to make him the top scoring foreigner in Bayern’s history.

“Let’s face it, I’m 28 now, so it’s about time I scored my 100th,” joked Bayern’s captain Mueller.

Mueller has four league goals this season, but Lewandowski has 17, four ahead of nearest rival Aubameyang in league’s scoring charts.

Bailey back-heel

Leon Bailey, 20, showed why Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal are reportedly chasing him with an audacious back-heel that opened the scoring in Leverkusen’s 4-1 rout of Hoffenheim.

“I knew that I was standing in front of the goal — and the goal wasn’t going to move,” said Bailey when asked about the goal, his seventh in the league this season.

“It was instinctive, it was my only chance.”

The Jamaican winger capped an impressive display with an assist for the first of Lucas Alario’s two second-half goals and was involved in the build-up to Julian Baumgartlinger’s net-busting second.

The win left Leverkusen second in the table.

“For me personally, it’s crazy what I have already achieved in a year at Leverkusen,” beamed Bailey.

Loew backs Werner

Goal-scorer Timo Werner cast a dejected figure after his RB Leipzig crashed to a shock 2-1 defeat at strugglers Freiburg.

The 21-year-old bagged his tenth league goal this season to give Leipzig the lead only to watch in horror as Freiburg scored two goals in four second-half minutes.

However, watching Germany coach Joachim Loew was delighted at the Leipzig striker’s finishing after a strong run.

“Timo clearly likes to score against Freiburg,” Germany’s World Cup-winning coach told German daily Bild as Werner claimed his ninth goal in eight games against Freiburg.

“It’s crazy having a striker like that in Germany – he is extremely important to us.”

Werner can expect a place in Loew’s World Cup squad.

Goretzka threat

The news no Schalke fan wanted to hear broke on Friday when it was confirmed Germany midfielder Leon Goretzka will play for Bayern Munich next season.

Emotions are running high in Gelsenkirchen and Schalke’s chairman Clemens Toennies issued an extraordinary threat to ban Goretzka to the stands for the rest of the season if he doesn’t play well.

“I hope he will play a second-half to the season of his life,” Toennies told Sky Sports News on Sunday.

“However, if it is better for the team, then it could also be the case that Leon Goretzka sits until the end of the season in the stands.”

Goretzka has said he wants to help Schalke win a Champions League place for next season, but was jeered in Sunday’s 1-1 draw at home to Hanover.

AFP

Arsenal Offer 50m Euros For Dortmund’s Aubameyang

Arsenal Offer 50m Euros For Dortmund's Aubameyang
File photo

 

Arsenal have reportedly had a first offer of 50 million euros ($61.1 million) for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang rejected by his German club Borussia Dortmund, according to Kicker magazine on Saturday.

Aubameyang, last season’s top scorer in the German league with 31 goals, has been dropped by Dortmund for the last two games amid speculation he is chasing a move to the Premier League club.

Arsenal are reportedly on the verge of selling Chile striker Alexis Sanchez to Manchester United.

Dortmund will not accept less than 60 million euros for Gabon hot-shot Aubameyang, who is under contract with Borussia until 2021, reports say.

Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke confirmed to SID, an AFP subsidiary, that there has now been contact with Arsenal, but said reports of a possible fee are “speculation” and “the first contact has not been about money”.

Aubameyang was dropped for Dortmund’s draws with Wolfsburg last Sunday and at Hertha Berlin on Friday after failing to attend a team meeting, and the club say he has lacked “focus” in training.

His father, also his agent, was said to be in London this week to try to push through a transfer to Arsenal.

Aubameyang trained hard alongside Dortmund’s reserves for an hour on Saturday.

His tempo was noticeably higher than it had been having been dropped by Stoeger for Friday’s draw after the head coach thought the striker had been distracted in the final session before the Bundesliga match in Berlin.

On Friday, while his club was drawing in Berlin, Aubameyang played a kick-about game indoors with his friends in Dortmund.

German daily Bild report that he wore a Dortmund shirt bearing the name of Ousmane Dembele, who transferred to Barcelona in August after going on strike to force the German club to sell him for 105 million euros.

Before the draw in Berlin, Dortmund’s director of sport Michael Zorc said Aubameyang was still in the club’s future plans, providing he changed his behaviour.

“There’s a way back into the team for him, but professionalism is part of that, which includes saying you’ve made a mistake in one situation or another,” added Zorc.

AFP

Dortmund Deny Contact With Arsenal For Aubameyang

 

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang  PHOTO: PATRIK STOLLARZ / AFP

 

Borussia Dortmund said on Thursday they have had no contact with Arsenal amidst reports their star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is chasing a move to the Premier League giants.

Aubameyang’s father and agent Pierre has reportedly been in London this week to negotiate a transfer for the Gabon forward, who was left out of Dortmund’s squad for Friday night’s trip to Hertha Berlin, according to newspaper Bild.

According to German magazine Kicker, Dortmund want 70 million euros ($85.6m) for last season’s top-scorer in the German league.

Aubameyang has already scored 21 goals in 23 games this season, but was disciplined by the club last Sunday for the third time in 16 months after failing to attend a team meeting.

He was dropped for Sunday’s goalless draw at home to Wolfsburg and will now miss a second game in a row, fuelling the speculation he will soon be heading to north London.

“It is obvious that he has to put his foot down in training and show up well,” head coach Peter Stoeger said of Aubameyang earlier on Thursday.

“He can decide for himself, with his attitude, whether he will be considered and I plan on using him, if he works hard.”

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger praised Aubameyang’s “strong character”, which did not go down well with Dortmund’s sports director Michael Zorc.

“We find it respectless to talk about a player from another club,” said Zorc, who added that Aubameyang has this week “trained well and is focused” on regaining his Dortmund place.

“There has been no contact with Arsenal and we assume Arsene Wenger has enough to do worrying about the performances of his own players.”

Aubameyang has a contract at Dortmund until 2021.

Swedish teenager Alexander Isak, 18, made only his third German league appearance when he took Aubameyang’s place on Sunday, but the team struggled to take their chances.

AFP

Aubameyang Baffled By Dortmund Suspension

Glo CAF Awards Final Shortlist Unveiled

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang said that he did not understand why his club, Borussia Dortmund, had suspended him for turning up late for training.

Dortmund dropped their star striker from the squad for Friday’s Bundesliga match against Stuttgart. Last year, the club suspended Aubameyang for a Champions League match against Sporting Lisbon after he flew to a party in Milan without permission.

“I could understand why I was suspended for Milan because I did not respect the rules, but this time I am truly baffled. I did not want to arrive late,” he told German newspaper Bild in an interview published on Friday.

Bild said the player was suspended because he was 20 minutes late for training. German media have also speculated that he was suspended for again leaving Germany for a night out, this time in Barcelona.

“For disciplinary reasons Aubameyang will not feature in the team for tomorrow’s game,” Dortmund said Thursday on the club’s Twitter account.

The club made no mention of the nature of Aubameyang’s misdemeanour.

The Gabonese forward is the club’s top marksman with 10 Bundesliga goals so far, but he has failed to score in three league games and two Champions League matches, a barren spell that has coincided with a slump by the club.

After three defeats and a draw in the Bundesliga, Dortmund have seen their five-point lead atop the Bundesliga turn into a six-point deficit to bitter rivals Bayern Munich. Borussia are also heading for elimination in the Champions League.

AFP