Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta said striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was back to his normal self after he fired home a hat-trick in Sunday’s 4-2 win over Leeds United.
The Gabon international scored twice before half-time, and after Hector Bellerin had Arsenal 3-0 up at the break, Aubameyang headed home an Emile Smith Rowe cross to complete the first hat-trick of his Premier League career.
They were just his sixth, seventh and eighth goals of the campaign, but his five goals in his last four games is more than he had managed during the his previous 16 outings, suggesting he is starting to rediscover his best form.
“I thought he was superb today,” said Arteta (via Sky Sports News). “He’s been training really good the last week or so, he was back to normal, he looked really committed in training, really hungry. And I think today he had a great performance, not just for the goals but the amount of pressure he put on every Leeds defender.
“I am delighted for him, he deserved it. We know that’s a big part of our future success is related to Auba being at his best and scoring as many goals as possible. If he is in that type of form, we are going to be closer to winning football matches, that is clear.
“We cannot just rely on him, but he is a big piece of our puzzle. And you could see that today that when he is firing he is a difficult player to play against.”
Not only has Aubameyang had to deal with on-field issues, but he missed three games towards the end of January to care for his sick mother, and the striker was full of thanks for the Arsenal fans who supported him during such a difficult spell.
It’s been a tough time for me, but now it’s time to get my smile back and score goals,” he said. “Everyone at the club was giving a lot of love to me, my mum and my family. I’m really happy and proud to be part of this family.
“I have to say thank you to everyone at the club, and the fans as well, because I received a lot of messages. I’m really happy with the win and the goals. This is for them.”