Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is Arsenal’s big-game player.
Even in what’s been a down season so far for the Gabonese striker, Aubameyang has delivered a big performance in an elimination game.
[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]
The Gunners beat Benfica 3-2 in Thursday’s second leg of the Europa League Round of 32, picking themselves up after blowing a 1-0 lead and requiring two goals to advance after Rafa Silva put the visitors up 3-2 on aggregate after 61 minutes.
Aubameyang scored the opener, saw Kieran Tierney score the club’s second, and then nabbed the 87th-minute winner that helped Arsenal rip a 4-3 win on aggregate out of the clutches of Benfica’s two away goals.
Saka 🤝 Auba. CLUTCH. 🔥 pic.twitter.com/uy8vnBL5td
— Champions League on CBS Sports (@UCLonCBSSports) February 25, 2021
“I completely trust him because we’re producing the chances and you know when Auba has chances he’s going to score goals,” said Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta after the game. “It’s great to see the way he reacted, he tried to be better and not just feeling sad for himself in this moment.”
That feels a bit like understatement.
Ineligible to appear in the Europa League when he arrived in January 2018, he has consistently delivered in tournament competition
Aubameyang scored twice and added an assist when Arsenal reversed a 3-1 first-leg deficit at home to Stade Rennais in the 2018-19 Round of 16, then played a part in five of Arsenal’s seven goals in the semifinals versus Valencia (He was admittedly blanked in the final loss to Chelsea).
Aubameyang was the Gunners’ lone scorer when they lost a second leg to Olympiacos last season, scored twice in the FA Cup semifinal defeat of Man City last season before adding two more in the final versus Chelsea, and then scored in the Community Shield defeat of Liverpool.
Aubameyang: "I think everyone is happy tonight. The team showed a lot of character and I think we deserved the win. I think it's going to be an example for the future." pic.twitter.com/Qw1YTJCOZ8
— Chris Wheatley (@ChrisWheatley_) February 25, 2021