Mikel Arteta sends warning to key Arsenal star ahead of Man Utd showdown

Arsenal can move into the top four with a positive result against Manchester United at Old Trafford

Arsenal can move into the top four with a positive result against Manchester United at Old Trafford (Picture: Getty)

Mikel Arteta has warned Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang he cannot afford let his current lack of confidence in front of goal have a negative impact on the other aspect of his game.

The 32-year-old appeared to be well on the road to rediscovering his best form after a woeful 2020/21 campaign, during which he often cut a dejected figure, stranded out on the left wing.

Restored to a central striking role, Aubameyang looked back to his best during the opening weeks of the season, running riot in the north London derby against Tottenham and scoring a vital winning goal against Norwich.

Aubameyang, however, has now gone four games without a goal and hasn’t scored away from home in the Premier League since May ahead of tonight’s heavyweight clash against Manchester United.

The former Borussia Dortmund star, who has missed his last two penalties and somehow contrived to hit the post from inside the six-yard box against Newcastle on Saturday, was praised for his work rate by his manager and pundits alike during the early weeks of the season and Arteta has told his skipper he cannot afford to let those energy levels drop, regardless of how many goals he is scoring.

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‘To put the ball in the net or not can be a difference of millimetres or by a second and Auba hasn’t lost that capacity,’ Arteta said.

‘What he cannot lose is the rest of his game. He cannot think, ‘I’m going to do a little bit less of that now to score more goals.’

‘Our front players have to put people on the ball under pressure every single time.’

Arteta must consider whether or not to recall Kieran Tierney for tonight’s match at Old Trafford, or stick with Nuno Tavares who has started the last five matches at left-back and responded superbly against Newcastle having endured a difficult evening as Arsenal surrendered their unbeaten 10-game run at Anfield a fortnight ago.

‘It was a tricky one,’ Arteta said. ‘We had to be very careful with the message we send. I encourage them to play with courage, to take risks and make decisions and play on the front foot.

‘And if they make a mistake, you have to show your trust in them to build confidence and resilience.

‘It’s not only for the player who is playing, but also the player who is not playing has to understand that part of that decision is to support.’

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