This is our “prospecting the prospects” series, where we run the rule over lots of FPL prospects who will enter the game as the transfer window newcomers arrive. This series analyses a selection of these newcomers to the FPL game by simulating how they would have performed using the season’s stats so far (wherever they played) as if they had been in FPL, then providing our evaluation of the player as an asset ahead of the coming period.
After another tedious ‘will-they, won’t-they’ transfer saga – involving the classic Arsenal strategy of leaving transfers as late as possible – on 31st January, Arsenal announced the signing of prolific Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
The former Borussia Dortmund (BVB) forward joins for a reported fee believed to be in the region of £53m (€60m).
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) January 31, 2018
Aubameyang started his career with AC Milan, never starting a game at the club and instead endured loan stints in several places before a permanent move to St Etienne. It was here that he found his goal-scoring boots, scoring 37 goals in 87 appearances for the Ligue 1 outfit. Moving to Dortmund for just £11m in 2013, Aubameyang quickly became a household name within the club. Scoring 119 goals (and 23 assists) in only 186 appearances (0.64 goals per game) for Dortmund, Aubameyang helped fire the German outfit to both domestic and European glory with the Gabonese frontmans’ goals being BVB’s main offset for the loss of Robert Lewandowski. In 16 appearances this season, the Gabonese striker has notched up 13 goals and 3 assists (21 goals in 23 appearances, all competitions – 40 goals all competitions last season).
But how good would Aubameyang be if in FPL this season? Let’s use WhoScored data to find out.
Prospecting the prospects (using this season’s data so far)
Appearances: 16 appearances (all 60+ mins) = 32 points
Goals: 13 goals (13×4) = 52 points
Assists: 3 assist (3×3) = 9 points
Bonus: To give an estimation of the bonus points he would have got, we need to review the games that he was instrumental in through examining when his goals and assists arrived to come to a rough calculation of how well he did.
For 1 game in which Nuri Sahin scored and assisted as well, he’d probably have gotten 2 bonus for supplying the winning goal. His goals often were contributions or match altering rather than winners. He’s also scored a couple of braces this season, with him receiving 3 bonus (6 in total) for both of them: one was a brace in the 3-2 loss to RB Leipzig, and the other was in the 5-0 rout of FC Koln, wherein Maximilian Phillip also bagged a brace in the game and defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos scored and kept a clean sheet. He also scored a hat trick as well as supplying an assist in the 6-1 win over Glabach, for a further 3 bonus. For other games he contributed in, we’ll say he snuck 1 further bonus.
Total bonus: 10 points
Disciplinary: 1 Red Card = -3 points
Missed penalties: 1 missed penalty = -2 points
Scores on the Doors
100 points over 16 games thus far, which puts him in the top 25 players in FPL – for context, that’s near Phil Jones and Nacho Monreal.
Let’s just adjust this to account for the fact that 25 games have been played in the Premier League so far vs Aubameyang’s 16 appearances. Of course, this is highly unscientific, but if we reduce his 101 points from 16 games into a per game (ppg) score, it works out as 6.3 ppg (101/16).
Over the course of 16 games, that therefore gives us a score of 156 points over 25 games (6.3×25).
That’s 2nd overall in FPL as per player scores before GW26 – 24 points below Salah, and 1 point ahead of Harry Kane.
A very interesting signing in real and FPL terms. FPL managers have been begging for another premium striker to break up the Kun-Kane-Firmino triumvirate: is Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang the answer to this question?
It will be a tough task for Arsene Wenger to rejig his new-look attacking line, with two proper strikers for the first time in quite a while. Whether Aubameyang will end up on the wing, behind Lacazette, or potentially up beside the Frenchman, is yet to be discovered.
Looking at Aubameyang’s stats, it’s clear what his game is – he’s an out-and-out goalscorer, possibly the best Arsenal have offered since Robin van Persie. He offers something different than Arsenal’s existing attackers, and could be vital in offsetting the loss of Alexis Sanchez for Wengers’ men. He’s also a penalty taker, with a ratio of 20 in 26 so far.
Since the start of the 15/16 season Aubameyang has scored 100 goals and contributed 20 assists. That equates to a goal or assist every 83 minutes on the pitch.
With that kind of scoring record, the obvious striker to compare him to is the golden (boot) standard of the Premier League: Harry Kane. Looking at their data so far this season, both have performed very similarly. Having played less games than Kane, this comparison will focus on average stats per game (PG).
On the main metric, goals scored, Aubameyang has actually outscored Kane (FPL managers, take note), with 0.97 goals PG compared to the Englishman’s 0.91. This is higher than any player currently in FPL this season.
However, as well documented in FPL, this season Kane has been taking shots at a monstrously high rate (5.78 shots PG), Auba does not compete with this, with 3.62 shots PG. This is still a high number and is only beaten by one other striker – Sergio Aguero (4 shots PG) – and is on par with Alexis Sanchez (3.63).
Most of Aubameyang’s shots come from inside the area (3.19 PG), which is a much closer matchup to Kane (3.61) than total shots. This suggests that Kane is an opportunistic attacker, with more of a penchant for trying his luck, with Aubameyang appearing more conservative, choosing his shots only when he is certain of a good chance of scoring. They boast similar shot accuracy, though, at 56% for Kane and 57% for the new Arsenal man, inferring a conversion rate much higher for Aubameyang given his higher goals pg ratio than the Tottenham star.
He’s also good in the air, with him winning 43% of aerial duels this season compared to Kane’s 45%.
All in all, his threat profile is broadly similar to Kane’s, as are his rate of returns: that’s really exciting.
In terms of chance creation, Gabonese is unlikely to take over all of Sanchez’ attacking contributions, with 0.06 assists PG compared to Sanchez’ 0.16. Whilst this isn’t a massive difference, when looking at chances created for Aubameyang (0.78 PG) vs Sanchez (2.63 PG) it’s clear that we are dealing with an out-and-out goal scorer, not the jack-of-all trades that Sanchez is.
It’s also worth noting his connection with Arsenal’s other big-name signing of this window: Henrikh Mkhitaryan (‘big-name’ both literally and figuratively). Playing alongside one another at Dortmund for three years, they proved a formidable link-up that could unlock any defence set in front of them, with Mkhi and Auba combining for 6 goals in their final season together (2015/16). This connection could be vital for Aubameyang to hit the ground running, with the assisting ability of Mesut Ozil behind him also something to take note of.
The fixtures only add to the excitement, with Arsenal only facing 3 of the top 6 from last year throughout the run in – an especially good looking period between Gameweeks 29-35 could be time for the Gabonese to enter the mainstream.
— Fantasy Premier League (@OfficialFPL) January 31, 2018
A 10.5 entry price – the same as Lacazette – is very tempting for FPL managers.
Overall, then, Aubameyang has the potential to break up the Kane – Kun – Firmino dominance of the striker spots and provide a true alternative option for FPL managers. The stats are really impressive and lead to an impression that the striker could really bring something new to the Premier League, much like Mo Salah did in the summer. A key ramification will be that competition at the premium bracket in our sides will intensify, with tough choices required as managers decide which big guns they are able to squeeze into their sides and who gets pushed out.
At 28, in his prime, and coming from a league carrying fairly similar physicality in the Bundesliga, could it be that he hits the ground running straight away?
We’ll see soon – and we’re excited about it.
Overall rating: 4.5 / 5 – A very good prospect for FPL
*derived from a completely subjective scale from 1-5, where 1 is bad and 5 is excellent
Caveat: we thoroughly accept this system of evaluating players isn’t flawless. All of our players come from different leagues so it’s not a sideways move – predicting how well a player will do is an inexact science! However, we feel that it’s a nice approach to getting a feel for how a player might do in FPL.
- Con McVeigh (FPL dot Con on Twitter) helped produce this piece. Any mistakes are due to him 😉