Another busy weekend, another Premier League Player of the Week to crown.
This week’s award goes to …
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal)
This pandemic has taken its toll on all of us and we’ve seen numerous examples in recent weeks of people in the world of football soldiering on during difficult times in their personal lives.
The latest example came on Sunday, when Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang thanked the club and the Gunners’ faithful for supporting him when his mother fell ill at the end of January.
“Everyone was giving a lot of love to me, my mum and my family,” Aubameyang told Sky Sports after his side’s 4-2 win over Leeds.
“I have to say thank you to everyone at the club, and the fans.”
Aubameyang hasn’t had the best season of his career so far and before Sunday, he had only contributed five Premier League goals.
But it just goes to show that everybody is human, and his first ever Premier League hat-trick seemed like the perfect way to put his personal and professional troubles behind him.
Yesterday’s hat-trick took Pierre Emerick Aubameyang past Alexis (60) and level with Robert Pires (62) in terms of Premier League goals for Arsenal. He’s now joint-7th on the list. (@Orbinho)
He found the bottom corner with a daisy-cutter for his first goal, coolly converted a penalty for the second, and was in the right place to head home from close range for the third.
It might not be the greatest hat-trick the world has ever seen, but it’s the kind of striker’s instinct Arsenal’s attack has often been lacking this season, and Mikel Arteta will be hoping his captain can kick on from here.
“The hat-trick means a lot to me,” added Aubameyang.
“I’m a guy who always works hard. It’s been a tough time for me.
Perhaps a big contributing factor to the Gabon international’s performance against Leeds was Arteta’s decision to deploy him centrally.
Aubameyang has more often played off the left this season and though he has been effective when cutting in from that position, it has never felt quite right.
On Sunday he played down the middle with Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith-Rowe and Martin Ødegaard all supporting him, and look what happened.
“He is amazing,” Saka told the club’s official website post-match.
“I can’t speak highly enough of him. He showed everyone how much quality he has, when he gets a chance he is going to put it away.
“He can do everything, so we are so happy to have him and it’s good that he got a hat-trick for his confidence. We have a big week ahead and we hope he can score some more goals for us.”Aubameyang: I want to be an Arsenal legendVolume 90%
All that said, it was reported on Tuesday that Arsenal are investigating a possible coronavirus breach from Aubameyang after footage emerged on Instagram on on 10 February of him getting a tattoo.
If true, let’s hope a sincere and considered apology is forthcoming from a public figure who should be setting an example to others during these trying times.
But let’s also not forget that everybody is human, especially when they’re making mistakes.