Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang outshone by Arsenal flop who felt ”cheated’ by Arsene Wenger

Former Gunners striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has endured a difficult week at the Camp Nou as another forgotten Arsenal frontman stole the headlines with a crucial goal

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Mikel Arteta on Alexandre Lacazette’s future

Barcelona boss Xavi Hernandez has been left furious by the worst week of his Camp Nou managerial rein with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang enduring his toughest stint since joining the club.

Last week, the club’s European hopes were ended for the campaign as they crashed to defeat at home to Eintracht Frankfurt. It was a humbling night for the Blaugrana, for whom the situation went from bad to worse three days later as they slipped to a home defeat against relegation-threatened Cadiz in La Liga.

These games were particularly damning for Aubameyang, who was largely anonymous over both legs of the Europa League clash against Frankfurt. The Gabonese striker was ineffectual during the first leg 1-1 draw in Germany and was hauled off just after the hour mark at the Camp Nou – a damning move with the side chasing two goals at that stage.

That was a clear indication that Xavi did not believe the former Arsenal striker was among his side’s best options for finding the net, despite his status at the club. That decision was somewhat justified by Barca carrying a significantly bigger goal threat in the final third of that game – albeit they were chasing goals – and did eventually find the net twice.

Xavi showed no signs that he regretted the decision to take out Aubameyang as he was excluded from the starting line-up for the loss at Cadiz, despite not playing the full match days earlier. Memphis Depay was chosen ahead of him but the Dutchman did not take his chance and while Aubameyang was brought on in the second half, he made little impact as the visitors held on to win the game with a clean sheet.

The scorer of the decisive goal in the match was not Aubameyang but would have been of equal interest to Arsenal fans. Lucas Perez played just 21 matches for Arsenal and scored just one Premier League goal with the Gunners – having joined the club from Deportivo La Coruna in 2016. A year later, he returned to the Spanish club on loan before departing permanently to West Ham in 2018.

Have Your Say! Were Arsenal wrong in allowing Aubameyang to leave? Tell us what you think here.

Perez netted the winner for Cadiz at Camp Nou on Monday


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Perez subsequently returned to Spain, playing for Elche and now Cadiz. Having endured a difficult campaign at Arsenal in 2016-17, the arrival of Alexandre Lacazette the following summer proved to be the final straw and not just from a sporting point of view, but because he was given Perez’s number nine shirt number – which left the Spaniard furious.

Back in the summer of 2017, Perez lamented, ahead of his exit: “I feel cheated. In February I was not allowed to leave for China with the promise that I would play more and after that, I had even fewer opportunities. But the shirt number is an ugly gesture. On the [pre-season] trip, Lacazette asked the boss and he accepted. Afterwards, he told me.

“Last year he (Wenger) told me that he understood that I was upset. I think this season things will get worse, so help me out. Since I have been a professional footballer, I’ve felt happiest in Deportivo, surrounded by my family and my friends. Put yourself in my place. I know I have chances to play for the national team. To play at the World Cup. But for that, I have to play and I have to be happy. That’s why I want to go back to La Coruna.

Aubameyang has been frustrated for Barca during recent weeks after a bright start


Joan Valls/Urbanandsport /NurPhoto via Getty Images)

“They (Arsenal) are not behaving well with me. To take the shirt number without telling me and to give it to a companion – it seems to me that it is the last straw. I can’t continue this way. I have given everything, but that has not been reciprocated, so I can’t stand it any longer. I want to leave and be happy.”

Perez has enjoyed a somewhat nomadic career but has remained consistent in respectable goal returns across his spell in La Liga, with his winning strike at the Camp Nou this week piling on the misery for the hosts and helping his side take a massive step towards safety.

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