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Photo credit should read GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP via Getty Images

'I really respect him': Sunday's rival lauds under-fire Arsenal star who's 'still a kid'

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Arsenal take on Fulham on Sunday as Mikel Arteta’s men eye back-to-back wins in the Premier League for the first time since January.

Since our win at Southampton almost three months ago, the Gunners have picked up just four victories in the Premier League out of a possible 11, and that is a shocking record for a club aiming to be among the top four.

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One of the biggest reasons why we’ve been as bad as we have is our star players’ form. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, for example, hasn’t looked anything like his previous self this term, and that has cost us dearly.

The Gabon star has come under a lot of criticism over the last few months. His new contract and the money he earns through it has been a hot topic for the media, who are doing everything they can to bring him down, with some even claiming that he doesn’t deserve the wages he’s currently on.

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Fulham’s Mario Lemina, Auba’s compatriot, has rubbished those claims. He claims that the Arsenal skipper has worked extremely hard to reach where he is now, and he deserves everything he currently has.

He told Sky Sports: “He likes fancy things. You can see the cars, he likes manga cartoons, comic-book superheroes, he’s still a kid. That’s his personality. He is a really happy guy, he deserves where he is right now.

“As a player I really respect him, I know his background. He wasn’t the best player at the beginning and he has worked so hard to get where he is right now, that’s why I respect him a lot.

“We are good friends, we don’t talk every day. He doesn’t want to bother me, he would rather be with his family but he is a really good guy. He’s an amazing person.”

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The Insider’s View:

Some of the criticism Aubameyang has received over the last few months is absolutely ridiculous. Yes, he hasn’t performed anywhere near as well as he can, but to say that he doesn’t deserve the contract he was given last year is just ludicrous.

Aubameyang carried Arsenal for two years. We wouldn’t have won the FA Cup and the Community Shield without him last term, and even though he’s having a shocking season, he has still scored 14 goals in all competitions.

The former Dortmund man is going through a terrible patch at the moment. One can argue that he doesn’t deserve a spot in the side ahead of Alexandre Lacazette and Gabriel Martinelli, but as we’ve seen with many players before – form is temporary, class is permanent.

Auba will definitely be back to his best – hopefully, in the very near future.

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