Sky Sports football analyst Jamie Carragher has said Arsenal “may have another Mesut Ozil” situation on their hands following Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang’s lazy performances this season.
Aubameyang who has scored only nine Premier League goals this season after signing a new three-year contract at the Emirates last summer, was taken off 13 minutes to go in Arsenal’s 3-0 defeat to Liverpool on Saturday.
Carragher told Monday Night Football the 31-year-old, who had netted 54 league goals in two and a half years before the start of this season, has become a passenger on occasions when he does not find the back of the net – and is drawing comparisons with another expensive Arsenal talent of recent years.
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has been forced to drop his captain for the north London derby last month after he reported late to the game.
Aubameyang has also not scored a single goal since Arsenal’s 2-1 victory at the derby, missing a hatful of chances in the Europa League against Olympiakos before being subbed off against West Ham – and again this weekend against Liverpool.
Carragher said: “I think Aubameyang’s performances this season have been lazy, at times. I don’t care how many goals he gets – he’s won Golden Boots in the past – but he’s definitely a player who doesn’t bring anything to this team if he doesn’t score a goal, and that’s a big problem.
“I watched him last week at West Ham, and I’ve watched him four or five times this season, and I’m thinking I need more. I need more from you, and that’s exactly what we saw on Saturday against Liverpool.
“He was late for the north London derby and the manager took a big decision, and it paid off. I’m expecting a reaction from Aubameyang. He then plays midweek, misses a few chances and he’s not at his best in the Europa League game.
“I watched him at West Ham and I’d go as far as to say it is one of the worst performances I’ve seen this season. I was commentating on the game and when he went off the pitch in the 77th minute, Arsenal scored and he celebrated with (Alexandre) Lacazette, and I said that’s the most energetic I’ve seen him this season.
“He then gets brought off again against Liverpool. This is your star man getting taken off in the last two games on the back of me wanting to see a reaction.
“I think there will be a big worry at Arsenal and for Mikel Arteta that they may have another Mesut Ozil situation where they give someone a big contract at £300,000 or £350,000-a-week. Good luck to him, but you’ve got to justify that.
“Next season and in these coming months that will be going through the manager’s mind. Have we got another situation like that because what he is producing right now is nowhere near good enough considering how good a player he is and also what Arsenal have invested in him.”