Top 10 Premier League stars of 2018: Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
The striker has made a big impact since joining Arsenal in January
The Gabon striker has shone for the Gunners since his club-record £60m move from Borussia Dortmund in January, continuing the goalscoring form that made him one of the world’s most feared strikers during his time in Germany.
Aubameyang made an instant impact at the Emirates Stadium, scoring on his debut against Everton, and now sits joint-top of this season’s Premier League scoring charts with Mohamed Salah.
What do the stats say?
Aubameyang’s 20 Premier League goals have been split evenly across the two seasons. He hit 10 in 13 appearances in the first half of the year, and since the start of the 2018/19 campaign he has scored 10 in 17. His total is all the more impressive considering he has spent many games stationed on Arsenal’s left flank.
Aubameyang has contributed seven assists, demonstrating that he is also a team player, but it’s his clinical finishing which has helped Arsenal most.
He is averaging a goal every 118.2 minutes, the third-best strike rate among Premier League players in 2018 behind only Sergio Aguero and Salah.
While he ranks below Aguero and Salah in terms of his strike rate, however, he is ahead of them in terms of shot conversion. His 20 goals have come from just 71 shots, giving him a conversion rate of 28.2 per cent – the highest of any player to reach double figures in 2018. By comparison, Aguero and Salah’s conversion rates are 19.5 per cent and 20.5 per cent respectively.
The 29-year-old has been particularly clinical this season. At the start of December, he became the first Premier League player to score with 10 consecutive shots on target since Benni McCarthy managed it for Blackburn in 2007.
Aubameyang started his Arsenal career in style, scoring a fine debut goal in that 5-1 thrashing of Everton in February. He hit his first doubles for the club in victories over Stoke and Burnley last season, and he also had the honour of scoring the last goal of the Arsene Wenger era – his strike sealing Arsenal’s 1-0 win over Huddersfield on the final day.
There have been more memorable moments this season. Aubameyang came off the bench to score twice in consecutive games against Fulham and Leicester, and earlier this month his goals helped Arsenal to a thrilling 4-2 win over Tottenham in the north London derby.
Aubameyang’s first goal came from the penalty spot at the Emirates Stadium, and he scored his second with a brilliant curling finish from the edge of the box in the second half. Arsenal fans will hope for more of the same in 2019.
“I think he is one of the favourites to be top scorer this season,” says Charlie Nicholas. “I think he will really push the likes of Harry Kane, Sergio Aguero and Mohamed Salah and I wouldn’t be surprised if he comes out on top.
“Having said that I still don’t think he’s a proper number nine. He can play there but I think he’s kind of a 10-and-a-half. He doesn’t play as a wideman but he’s best starting there and coming inside.
“I actually think he has played better when he has been with Alexandre Lacazette because he doesn’t particularly like the physical side of things or linking play. He likes it in behind because of his pace that he’s got.
“His record is really good though. I like him a great deal. He’s a big improvement for Arsenal. I just much prefer him when he’s linking up with Lacazette rather than being a solo number nine.”