In pictures: Arsenal v Aston Villa
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Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has praised striker Pierre Emerick Aubameyang's ability to press opponents. It is something for which Manchester United forward Cristiano Ronaldo has been criticised this season, particularly in the aftermath of the Red Devils' 5-0 thrashing by Liverpool on Sunday.
Aubameyang has enjoyed improved form this term. The Gabonese forward scored just 10 Premier League goals last season, down from 22 in the previous campaign.
But the 32-year-old has already scored four times, including in the club's last two games. He opened the scoring in the 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace before netting the second during Friday's 3-1 win over Aston Villa.
And boss Arteta has been impressed by his captain's displays. The Spaniard has said that Aubameyang's game is more than just scoring goals.
According to Arteta, Aubameyang is producing his best displays since the 39-year-old replaced Unai Emery in 2019.
"Apart from the goals, the celebration when they put the ball in the net, do you see the way he runs, the purpose he has to press the ball, and when he takes it his movement, his link, how is leading the game?" Arteta said.
Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been praised by boss Mikel Arteta (Image: GETTY)
"That is when he is changing the rest, not when he is static and then he puts the ball in the net. I prefer this Auba.
"For me it is a click. It is a combination that realising that his role has to go well beyond that.
"What was good, or very good, two or three years ago, with his role in this team, at this club, it is not enough. He had to take a step forward."
Arteta added: "I wouldn't go to the goals, again it is what Auba is transmitting on the pitch. I have never seen Auba transmit what he is doing now."
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The praise for Aubameyang comes as United striker Ronaldo has been criticised for his work rate.
According to Opta, United have gone from averaging 24.9 team presses per game last season to just 16.4 per game in the new campaign.
It represents a dramatic shift in style from before Ronaldo's summer arrival from Juventus , and it was particularly noticeable during the Red Devils' shock 5-0 thumping by Liverpool.
Man Utd striker Cristiano Ronaldo has been criticised for his pressing ability (Image: GETTY)
However, boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has defended the legendary forward.
“The goalscorers embodied everything we wanted to see,” Solskjaer wrote in his pre-match programme notes reflecting on the scorers in the club’s 3-2 Champions League victory over Atalanta in midweek, of which Ronaldo was one.
“Marcus [Rashford] had a couple of opportunities come and go in the first-half and early in the second-half but kept his composure, kept at it and got us back into the game with a very calm, well-taken finish.
“That says everything you need to know about his mental strength – and the same goes for Harry Maguire, who only came back from injury last weekend but showed such a cool head to level things up with a clinical equaliser.
“Then Cristiano, after covering so much of the pitch, tracking back and showing his work ethic, popped up late on to demonstrate his class with a brilliant late header.”
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