Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 February 2020

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang puts Arsenal 'team and targets' above Golden Boot ambitions

Gabon striker honoured to be club captain and hopes to lead the club to a strong end of the season

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is in the mix to win the Golden Boot for a season successive season. Reuters
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is in the mix to win the Golden Boot for a season successive season. Reuters

Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang says it’s an honour to captain the club as he targets both a strong finish to the season with his side and retaining Premier League Golden Boot.

The Gabon international is currently in a four-way tie in third in the top-scorer charts, two behind Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero and a further one back from front-runner Jamie Vardy of Leicester City.

Last season, his first full campaign in the English top flight, Aubameyang found the net 22 times to share the Golden Boot with Liverpool forwards Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah.

Asked in Dubai this week if he was keeping an eye on that individual race, Aubameyang paused briefly and then laughed.

“Yes,” he said. “First of all, I always say the most important is the team and our targets. That’s the first thing. And if I can be top scorer that’s cool. For the moment, we’re trying to get some wins, and that’s the most important.”

Aubameyang, 30, was handed the Arsenal armband in November, after Granit Xhaka was stripped of the captaincy following his heated confrontation with supporters in the 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace.

With the added responsibility, Aubameyang follows in the footsteps of club legends, including Tony Adams and Patrick Vieira. Mikel Arteta, the new Arsenal manager, has also captained the north Londoners.

“Of course, it’s a big honour when you see how many great captains they had," Aubameyang said. "So I’m feeling very proud and I try to always give my best to give advice to the young players as well. In everything, I try to do my best for the team.”

Arsenal spent five days in Dubai from last Friday as they took advantage of the Premier League’s first winter break with some warm-weather training at Nad Al Sheba Sports Complex.

It allowed the squad more time to familiarise themselves with Arteta, who was appointed in late December as Unai Emery’s permanent successor. Since, Arsenal have made tentative improvements, winning one and drawing five of their seven league matches to sit 10th in the table.

Still in both the FA Cup and the Uefa Europa League, they return to league action on Sunday, when they host 12th-placed Newcastle United at the Emirates Stadium.

And, having got some quality time with Arteta on the training pitch, Aubameyang was the latest player to pay tribute to the Spaniard.

“He’s doing very well,” the former Borussia Dortmund frontman said. “We are improving every day and we are feeling much better than at the beginning of the season.”

Updated: February 13, 2020 08:13 AM

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