Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta believes Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is overthinking his goal drought and has called on the rest of his squad to help lighten the captain’s load.
The Gunners face Burnley on Sunday and sit just seven points ahead of their visitors having lost their last three Premier League games at the Emirates Stadium.
Arteta’s side are without a league win of any kind since a 1-0 victory at Manchester United on November 1 – a game decided by an Aubameyang penalty.
That remains just his second league goal of the campaign, the other – and only strike from open play – coming in a win at Fulham on the first weekend of the season.
Having been in fine form ever since moving to Arsenal from Borussia Dortmund in January 2018, Aubameyang’s recent barren run started after he ended a long-running saga by signing a new and improved deal in north London.
Now Arteta believes the Gabon forward may have a mental hurdle he needs to clear to get back in the race for goals.
“Sometimes it is how much you think and with natural strikers, like Auba, it comes in a natural way,” he replied when asked if a drop in confidence may have been a contributing factor to Aubameyang’s poor form.
“He doesn’t need to think, the action is there and he makes the choice in the right moment, with the right foot and plays the ball into where it needs to be.
“Sometimes when you are in this sort of spell, you overthink a little bit. So you have to let that flow go because in the end this is something he has done in his whole career.
“There is nothing we have to teach him to do differently to what he has done in the past.”
In previous seasons Aubameyang has competed for – and won – the Premier League’s golden boot.
This year, however, he is already nine goals behind Dominic Calvert-Lewin, the Everton striker leading the way with 11.
His team-mates have also been struggling to find the back of the net; only Sunday’s visitors Burnley – as well as Sheffield United and West Brom – have scored fewer than Arsenal’s 10 goals so far.
Arteta is keen for his other players to start weighing in with goals to help ease the burden on Aubameyang.
“Individually, we are doing a lot of work – to see where he scores his goals, how he gets them provided, the areas he needs to attack and the type of finishes he is efficient with,” added the Spaniard.
“But when you have a player in that type of spell, you need other players to step up for him. Then that process becomes much easier.
“The problem is when we have two, three or four players in the same way then it becomes unattainable.
“So you need someone in there to help him and someone there to step in and do the job for him. Then things come more naturally because the pressure is not as big.”