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Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang “hasn’t been on form” since signing a lucrative new contract at Arsenal, admits Kevin Campbell, but the Gunners captain is expected to rediscover his spark at some stage.
Success in FA Cup and Community Shield competition, along with the ambition being shown by Mikel Arteta, helped to convince a Gabonese frontman that he should stay put.
That decision was welcomed by all concerned at Emirates Stadium, with Aubameyang having become a key part of their plans – with 72 goals recorded through 114 appearances.
Only one of those has come in the Premier League this season, in an opening day victory over Fulham, and Campbell concedes that the 31-year-old has not been at his best in 2020-21.
The former Gunners frontman told GentingBet, with Arsenal preparing to take in a testing visit to the Etihad Stadium on Saturday: “The game against Manchester City is a very important game for Aubameyang for a number of reasons.
“Aubameyang is a form player who hasn’t been on form since he signed his new contract but Arsenal haven’t created too many chances for him of late. I’m sure Arteta will recognise that and will be looking at opportunities to get him those chances.
“At the end of the day, winning is the key. Aubameyang is the captain and will know that.
“There is never an easy game at the Etihad so as long as they win, it doesn’t matter who scores but being the main man, Aubameyang will want to be the difference maker.”
If Aubameyang is not firing on all cylinders, then Arteta has plenty of other match-winners in his squad.
Nicolas Pepe falls into that category, despite struggling to justify the club-record £72 million ($93m) splashed out on securing his signature, with Campbell among those who remain convinced that the Ivorian can come good if used correctly.
He added on a forward who has managed just nine goals for the Gunners through 48 appearances: “Nicolas Pepe has been unfortunate at Arsenal – Mikel Arteta is his third manager in just over a year.
“He has shown flashes of his brilliance but Mikel Arteta will be looking for consistency in his game.
“He came off the bench and really made an impact against Sheffield United, scoring a great goal but Arteta will be working on aspects of his game on the training pitch to help keep him consistent.
“He is a dribbler, who sometimes holds on to the ball too long but Arteta won’t coach that out of him, he’ll focus on making him more productive.