Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta received a ton of criticism for his decision to axe Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from the squad in December last year.
The Gabon star’s indiscipline didn’t sit well with the Gunners manager and he was adamant that his decision was made in the best interests of the club.
It has been a few months now since Aubameyang’s exile and Arsenal have clearly fared better. But, what do the underlying stats say? Have a look below!
Stats compared: Arsenal’s numbers before and after Aubameyang’s exile
Arsenal played 15 times this season before Aubameyang was axed from the squad. We scored 18 goals, conceded 22 and averaged 14 shots at goal per game.
Our xG with Aubameyang was 1.5 while our xGA stood at 0.9 per 90 minutes. We averaged 162.2 touches in the attacking third per game, our average direct speed (metres per second ball is advanced to goal) was 1.3 and we boasted 30 sequences starting in the attacking third every game. (Opta via CBS Sports)
Since Arteta banished Aubameyang from the Arsenal squad, we’ve scored 26 goals, conceded nine and have averaged 16.8 shots every game in 13 fixtures so far.
Our xG has gone up to 2.2, our xGA has dropped down to just 0.5 and we average 185.7 touches in the final third per game now. Arsenal’s average direct speed has come down to 1.17 but we now average 39.5 sequences starting in the attacking third per 90 minutes. (Opta via CBS Sports)
Arteta was right, wasn’t he?
It really was a massive call from Arteta to get rid of Aubameyang, who, despite his poor form, was our most dangerous attacker. Thankfully now, as proved by Arsenal’s stats above, it has all worked out.
Arsenal were nowhere near the top-four a few months ago but we are now the absolute favourites. After’s Chelsea’s humiliating defeat to Brentford at home today, we may even have a chance of finishing third, which would be a truly incredible achievement.
This isn’t a dig at Aubameyang by any means. The Gabon star is still among the best strikers in world football and his numbers at Barcelona are showing exactly that.
However, this was one relationship that had to end and both parties are benefitting from it now.