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Martin Keown heaps praise on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang despite striker's finishing in Sporting draw

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‘He’s the closest thing to Thierry Henry I have seen since he left, he really is that good’: Martin Keown heaps praise on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang despite striker’s finishing ‘letting the Gunners down’ in draw with Sporting

  • Martin Keown feels Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is a special talent for Arsenal
  • Yet the former Gunner insists he can  improve and was wasteful against Sporting
  • Arsenal only drew 0-0 against Sporting but secured Europa League progress

James Ayles For Mailonline

Martin Keown compared Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to Thierry Henry but highlighted his poor finishing in Arsenal’s 0-0 Europa League draw with Sporting Lisbon.

Aubameyang has started the season well, scoring nine goals in 13 games, but could not hit the target after coming on as a first-half substitute for Danny Welbeck.

And ex-Arsenal defender Keown felt the Gabon international’s mentality was not right when replacing his injured team-mate after 30 minutes. 

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was praised by Martin Keown but also criticised for his finishing

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was praised by Martin Keown but also criticised for his finishing

Keown told BT Sport: ‘He is the closest thing to Thierry Henry that I have seen since he left the club, he really is that good. Someone in his camp should be pushing him on, dragging that performance out of him because he is a special talent, he scores lots of goals and it’s just a hunger get him to boiling point, I don’t think he was there tonight.’

Aubameyang has struck up a good understanding with Alexnadre Lacazette and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, but was substituted in the Gunners’ last league match against Liverpool.

His best moment against Sporting came late on when he burst through on goal and was scythed down by defender Jeremy Mathieu who was shown a straight red card.

Aubameyang could only blaze the resultant free-kick over the bar, although a 0-0 draw was enough to secure Arsenal’s Europa League progress. 

The striker drew a foul that saw Jeremy Mathieu sent off late on during the goalless draw

The striker drew a foul that saw Jeremy Mathieu sent off late on during the goalless draw

The striker drew a foul that saw Jeremy Mathieu sent off late on during the goalless draw

Keown added: ‘Aubameyang really let them down a bit in front of goal, if only he had taken his chances… He’s a player who I rate really very highly. He was taken off against Liverpool and he didn’t seem happy with that.

‘With the (Welbeck) injury, it caught him out more than anyone else, he wasn’t ready mentally and I think on another night he would have put these chances away.

‘Mkhitaryan is a player who really looks out for him, they seem to have a telepathic link-up – he just knows these balls are coming, when you see it from another angle it should be a goal. It didn’t quite come off for him.’

Former Arsenal centre-back Keown wants to see more from Aubameyang for the Gunners

Former Arsenal centre-back Keown wants to see more from Aubameyang for the Gunners

Former Arsenal centre-back Keown wants to see more from Aubameyang for the Gunners

Joe Cole also highlighted the striker’s outstanding attributes but emphasised the need for greater focus and desire.

Cole said: ‘He is so talented he has such good physical attributes but he needs senior players pushing him on telling him how good he can be because his goal scoring record is good but he sort of flits in and out of games. 

‘If I’m Aubameyang I’m looking around thinking I want to score goals like Kane or Aguero. I think he played within himself and he just needs a little push.’



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Arsenal ace Lucas Torreira drops transfer revelation that could WORRY Gunners fans

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Torreira joined the Gunners from Sampdoria lsat summer and impressed in his debut season at the Emirates.

The Uruguayan made 34 Premier League appearances as the Gunners finished fifth, scoring twice.

But he has now thrown his Arsenal future into doubt by admitting he wants to play in South America.

“One day, I want to play for Boca and wear their shirt,” Torreira said.

“It’s a dream I have had since I was a little kid. It’s no secret, my family and friends know that.

“I was with several friends [at the Copa Libertadores final in Madrid]. I did not think I was going to suffer so much, I lived it with a lot of nerves.

“It was not as we wanted, but reaching the final is not for anyone. It was a nice show because I had never had the chance to see Boca.”

Arsenal boss Unai Emery is expected to have a busy summer, though his budget may be limited.

First, the Europa League final against Chelsea on May 29 is on Emery’s mind though.

Though the Spaniard recently admitted he needs money to improve his Arsenal squad.

He said: ”I think we can improve first, by spending money to achieve players.

“In the past the club have done great work in watching players, finding and signing young players and developing our players in the academy.

“I have big respect for our work, for our players in the academy.

“I want to develop the players here—giving them progress to achieve something at a big club like we are.

“We can also achieve [buy] some players who are in other teams, who can come here and give us this performance—like [Virgil] Van Dijk with Liverpool.”

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Arsenal facing transfer PROBLEM because of Man Utd, Liverpool and Nicolas Pepe

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Arsenal boss Unai Emery is looking to the transfer window to strengthen his squad, regardless of whether or not they win the Europa League.

But Manchester United and Liverpool are looking to do the same, with both clubs interested in securing Pepe’s signature.

The Lille star, who is also in the Gunners’ sights, has enjoyed a stunning campaign with the Ligue 1 giants.

The 23-year-old has bagged an impressive 20 goals from 36 league outings, clocking up 11 assists along the way.

Express Sport understands Arsenal are interested in securing Lorient hitman Alexis Claude-Maurice.

But Lille want him too as a replacement for United and Liverpool target Pepe.

Should one of Arsenal’s domestic rivals swoop for the star, then Lille may go in for Claude-Maurice.

And that would give the Gunners a problem, with Emery eager to sign Claude-Maurice as well this summer.

Liverpool have been strongly linked with a move to Pepe.

But United, according to journalist Duncan Castles, have enquired about the player Arsenal are also tracking.

“One of the clubs interested in Pepe [that] have expressed an interest to Lille is Manchester United,” he told The Transfer Window podcast.

“I’m told that last week a phone call went in to one of the Lille directors to enquire about the cost of a transfer for Pepe, who’s been outstanding in the French division this year, scoring goals and creating goals with a great deal of pace, actually a very good fit to what Manchester United would need on the right wing, to ask whether he would be available for sale.

“So Manchester United have shown their hand there. They’ve not gone any further.

“I’m told there’s been no bid and there’s been no further contact with Lille since that enquiry.

“But, again, the market’s beginning to move.

“Clubs like Lille who have players like Pepe who they know they will sell this summer, they very openly advertised and set a fee for him, would like to have as many of the big clubs bidding for him as possible, are waiting for one of these big clubs to make a move and inject money into the market so they can spend and recruit elsewhere, and those moves have implications for everyone else.”

Arsenal have also been linked with Kostas Manolas, Wilfried Zaha and Samuel Umtiti.

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Arsenal star hopes to play last Gunners game in Europa League final vs Chelsea

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Danny Welbeck could be available to play for Arsenal in the Europa League final after returning to training.

The 28-year-old has not played after breaking his ankle in November.

The Injury was so severe it required him to go under the knife twice as part of his recovery.

However, following Welbeck’s return to full training Arsenal are now planning to take him to Baku to face Chelsea, reports the Daily Mail.

Although the player will travel with the squad it is not known what involvement, if any, the England international will have during the final on May 29.

It is expected to be a farewell game for Welbeck, after Arsenal boss Unai Emery confirmed the player will be leaving the club when his contract expires in the summer.

Following Arsenal’s 1-1 draw with Brighton in their final Premier League game, Emery confirmed Welbeck’s departure.

“I spoke to the club with this situation and the decision is he is going to leave,” Emery said at the time.

Despite Welbeck missing half of the season through injury, he could get an opportunity to help the club qualify for the Champions League next year as Arsenal might not be taking Henrikh Mkhitaryan to Azerbaijan.

The club have made it clear they want Mkhitaryan to travel, but the 30-year-old Armenian might be caught up in political tensions if he travels to the game.

That is because there is currently a dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh territory.

Arsenal are seeking guarantees from UEFA about the situation with Mkhitaryan, but the club are reputedly growing concerned about the situation.

The Gunners have already played in Azerbaijan in the Europa League this season, when they took on Qarabag FK in the group stages of the tournament.

Mkhitaryan did not travel to Baku to play but the Gunners did win 3-0 on the night.

However, it might not just be Mkhitaryan not making the journey to Azerbaijan, as thousands of fans from both clubs also face the prospect of missing out.

Both Arsenal and Chelsea have only been allocated 6,000 tickets each from the 68,700 seats at the Olympic Stadium in Baku, a decision which has infuriated fans.

And those who are lucky enough to get a ticket then face the logistical nightmare of completing a 2,500 mile round trip to attend the game.

Uefa have apologised to both clubs over the travel chaos fans face but admit they hadn’t expected an all-English final.

“It goes without saying that an all-English final played by two London teams was not a very predictable event at the time of the appointment,” Uefa competitions director Giorgio Marchetti said.

“There is little doubt that this has added significant difficulties to the event logistics.

“We are really sorry for the problems that your (and Chelsea’s) fans are encountering trying to organise their journey to Baku.

“Our experts are keenly working on this matter with a view to help find cheaper solutions for travelling fans. We would welcome a joint effort with your club in this respect.”

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