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Aubameyang stats show he has been dealt a bad hand at Chelsea

1:07 AM SGT 12/1/23
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Chelsea 2022-23 HIC 16:9
Graham Potter has been unable to rely on the centre-forward but is poor run down to the striker alone?

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has had a torrid few months for Chelsea, failing to score in all competitions for the Blues since scoring in that impressive 2-0 win over AC Milan in October.

That Champions League strike at San Siro was the striker’s third goal in 11 days for Graham Potter, signalling some level of acclimatisation to the Englishman’s approach. Unfortunately, that goal against the Serie A defending champions was his last for the West London club.

Aubameyang has not found the back of the net in 10 games, although the forward has not started all the time in the ongoing run. The nadir came in last Thursday’s 1-0 defeat at the hands of Manchester City, where the former Arsenal marksman was withdrawn in the 68th minute, just over an hour after replacing Raheem Sterling.

Supporters have criticised his output, while several pundits have censured his attitude. But are they all missing the point and failing to understand what makes the 33-year-old tick?

Aubameyang is a striker who thrives on service while offering little else outside the 18-yard area. But the supply to the striker has been pitiful.

That makes it appear like he is not trying, prompting Chris Sutton to allege “he didn’t want to be here” after last week’s 1-0 loss versus Pep Guardiola’s troops and Paul Merson to claim the forward’s time at Stamford Bridge is up.

That said, has the forward been helped by his teammates or does he deserve the opprobrium coming his way? In this feature, GOAL highlight the numbers typifying the 33-year-old’s time in West London.

  • Aubameyang of Chelsea.

    Expected Goals (xG)

    Advanced analytics have blessed observers with expected goals, helping to validate or invalidate the eye test. Indeed, Aubameyang’s xG reveals the absence of quality chances created for the striker.

    The striker’s expected goals in the Premier League is 0.5, demonstrating how few quality chances he is receiving.

    Per 90, the Gabonese’s xG is 0.11. For context, this ranks below every campaign since 2017-18 (where he began the campaign and Borussia Dortmund and moved to Arsenal in January) and even falls below that underwhelming 2020-21 campaign (0.31 xG per 90) where the striker could not replicate the form that helped the Gunners to the FA Cup title post-lockdown.

    Compared to other strikers in the league, the paucity of chances received is astounding.

    Erling Haaland’s xG per 90 is 1.00 (0.83 if penalties are excluded). Mohamed Salah and Darwin Nunez have 0.53 and 0.76, respectively. Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford have 0.7 and 0.37, respectively, Harry Kane has 0.59, Ivan Toney has 0.60 and Gabriel Jesus’ 0.57 xG per 90 all outdo Aubameyang’s average.

  • Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Chelsea.

    Shots

    Unsurprisingly, the 33-year-old is not shooting at goal often enough.

    The striker’s 1.59 shots per 90 significantly fall short of previous campaigns which interestingly did not go below 2.12 (2020-21).

    If you are not shooting at goal, how are you expected to even get your numbers up?

  • Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Chelsea.

    Big chances

    This metric undoubtedly emphasises Chelsea’s final-third limitations.

    The Blues rank 14th in the division for big chances created, strikingly below struggling sides like Leicester City and cellar-dwelling Southampton.

    Last season and the year before, the West Londoners were fourth in the competition for clear-cut chances created.

    The fact Aubameyang has missed one big chance in the league all season shows how little he is being helped.

    For context, Haaland has missed 12 big chances, Nunez has failed to tuck away 15, Ivan Toney and Salah have failed to convert 12 each and Jesus had missed 11 clear-cut opportunities before the World Cup hiatus.

  • Pierre Emerick Aubameyang Chelsea 2022-23

    Touches in the penalty area

    Predictably, this has dropped from preceding campaigns.

    The striker’s 2.95 touches in the attacking penalty area per 90 are significantly lower than 4.26 in his final half-season at the Emirates Stadium, before rising to 5.25 at Barcelona.

  • Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Reece James Chelsea 2022-23 Champions League

    What worked previously?

    Early doors under Graham Potter, Chelsea looked to play vertically at every opportunity, thus favouring the striker.

    He got service from wide positions, notably benefiting from Reece James’ inclination to put the ball into the box in that 3-0 success over AC Milan at Stamford Bridge.

    The Blues have struggled to provide such promising situations for the marksman since, thus leading to the significant drop-off in his return since October.

    Two high-profile defeats highlight Chelsea’s inability to find Aubameyang: against Arsenal, Kai Havertz missed chances to pick out the striker inside the box and the German was again culpable in last Thursday’s defeat by Man City, where he strangely opted against slipping the striker through in two situations in the opening half.

  • PIerre-Emerick Aubameyang Chelsea Salzburg 2022-23

    Could the forward’s luck change soon?

    It remains to be seen if Aubameyang’s time at Chelsea is up, with Barcelona reportedly weighing a move to see the striker return to Camp Nou if Memphis Depay departs for Atletico Madrid.

    Potter ought to welcome back Reece James at the end of the month, while the club’s other attacking options should return in the second half of the season.

    The striker should be a beneficiary of James’ creativity from wide positions, although other teammates must spot the forward’s runs and make the most of his menace inside the penalty area.

    Aubameyang is still Chelsea’s best finisher. But he needs loads of assistance to get the best out of him.