Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang believes he has paid the price for last season’s exertions, but the Arsenal skipper is confident he can turn his campaign around.
Aubameyang inspired the Gunners to FA Cup glory in 2020, scoring twice in each of the semi-final and final wins over Manchester City and Chelsea.
The Gabon international’s decision to sign a new three-year contract at Emirates Stadium last September was a cause for celebration, yet he has struggled since.
An extra-time strike to clinch a 2-0 win over Newcastle United at the start of Arsenal’s FA Cup defence last weekend was Aubameyang’s sixth of the season in all competitions.
Speaking to Sky Sports ahead of Thursday’s Premier League match against Crystal Palace, the 31-year-old stated he is confident his toils are now behind him.
“From the beginning of this season I was struggling a lot but I think this is part of football,” he said.
“We gave a lot at the end of the season to win the FA Cup and to qualify for the Europa League because it was really important for the club.
“Sometimes you have ups and downs and you have to manage as best you can. I tried my best and until now it was not the best performance from me.
“I’m still positive. I think I can turn this around.”
In the Premier League this season, Aubameyang has scored three times – goals in an opening weekend victory at Fulham and last month’s 1-1 draw with Southampton coming either side of a match-winning penalty at Manchester United in November.
From 30 shots over the course of the campaign to date, he is under performing his expected goals (xG) figure of 3.4.
The contrast to last season’s heroics, when the former Borussia Dortmund star scored 22 times, is stark.
Only two of those came from the penalty spot and his 20 goals from open play were the fruits of 91 shots with an xG of 13.2.
It demonstrates how Aubamenyang has the capacity to be one of the most lethal strikers in the game, although he suggested the burden of captaincy at Arsenal has been a tough one to bear during his fallow period.
“It’s really hard to manage both but you have to be as positive as you can because the team needs you,” he added.
“I always try to give my best, not only on the pitch but also in the dressing room for the guys.
“Sometimes it’s hard and maybe you are not in the right mood but you have to find a way to change it and give positive vibes for the guys.”