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Chelsea vs. Arsenal isn’t about Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang


Rapid Wien v Arsenal FC: Group B - UEFA Europa League Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

When Arsenal come to Stamford Bridge this Sunday, it will be the first time that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will face the team he represented for four years, and where he left under not exactly pleasant or amicable circumstances.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, this reunion has been chosen as the primary focal point of the narrative- and drama-hungry media coverage of this game, as if Arsenal’s title-ambitions coming to be tested at the Bridge, where Graham Potter appears to be dodging icebergs suddenly, aren’t dramatic enough by themselves.

BT Sport, who have the broadcast rights in the UK and who certainly are no strangers to historic and memorable matchups between these two teams, have been promoting the game with this hilarious spot, wherein Auba declares that he’s back, he’s blue, and he’s ready. Not sure whether to laugh or cry at the inanity of it all.

It would be quite amusing if Aubameyang, he of a whopping 3 goals in 11 Chelsea appearances, doesn’t even start on Sunday, though given that Armando Broja isn’t even trusted in a meaningless midweek tie, chances are he won’t get to sniff the starting lineup in a crucial league matchup either. But beyond that, as Graham Potter had to explain in his pre-match press conference, the game is about so much more than some personal nonsense between Auba and his former Arsenal coach, Mikel Arteta.

“History makes it an interesting one for Auba, but the past is the past. We’re just looking at the game.”

“We shouldn’t make it about him. It’s about the team. He’s an important part of the team. For us to get the result we want, that takes everyone, not just one person.

“I understand the headlines and interest is around him because it’s Arsenal and there’s a narrative around that. There’s nothing we can do about that. But as a team and a group, we have to play well ourselves.”

After two draws and a horrendous defeat, sandwiching some decent performances in Europe, Chelsea are certainly in dire need of a good result. Maybe a win would also stop this worrying trend of becoming Arsenal doppelgängers.

“[Arsenal & Arteta are] a really good example of how success can come. He’s had to face some pressure from the outside, but the club have stayed supportive and stuck to their ideas.

“The younger players have got more game-time and become more experienced. And as I’ve said before, generally the coaching experience becomes the more you’re working. So it’s a combination of hard work from their perspective, sticking with their ideas, support from around, and good recruitment.”

-Graham Potter; source: Football.London

On second thought, maybe we should make this game about Aubameyang, so that he can continue the trend set by the likes of Ashley Cole and Olivier Giroud.

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