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Keown praises Aubameyang despite his poor finishing in Sporting draw

  /  autty

Martin Keown compared Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to Thierry Henry but highlighted his poor finishing in Arsenal's 0-0 Europa League draw with Sporting Lisbon.

Aubameyang has started the season well, scoring nine goals in 13 games, but could not hit the target after coming on as a first-half substitute for Danny Welbeck.

And ex-Arsenal defender Keown felt the Gabon international's mentality was not right when replacing his injured team-mate after 30 minutes.

Keown said: 'He is the closest thing to Thierry Henry that I have seen since he left the club, he really is that good. Someone in his camp should be pushing him on, dragging that performance out of him because he is a special talent, he scores lots of goals and it’s just a hunger get him to boiling point, I don’t think he was there tonight.'

Aubameyang has struck up a good understanding with Alexnadre Lacazette and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, but was substituted in the Gunners' last league match against Liverpool.

His best moment against Sporting came late on when he burst through on goal and was scythed down by defender Jeremy Mathieu who was shown a straight red card.

Aubameyang could only blaze the resultant free-kick over the bar, although a 0-0 draw was enough to secure Arsenal's Europa League progress.

Keown added: 'Aubameyang really let them down a bit in front of goal, if only he had taken his chances… He’s a player who I rate really very highly. He was taken off against Liverpool and he didn’t seem happy with that.

'With the (Welbeck) injury, it caught him out more than anyone else, he wasn’t ready mentally and I think on another night he would have put these chances away.

'Mkhitaryan is a player who really looks out for him, they seem to have a telepathic link-up – he just knows these balls are coming, when you see it from another angle it should be a goal. It didn’t quite come off for him.'

Joe Cole also highlighted the striker's outstanding attributes but emphasised the need for greater focus and desire.

Cole said: 'He is so talented he has such good physical attributes but he needs senior players pushing him on telling him how good he can be because his goal scoring record is good but he sort of flits in and out of games.

'If I’m Aubameyang I’m looking around thinking I want to score goals like Kane or Aguero. I think he played within himself and he just needs a little push.'

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