Mikel Arteta says Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is “hungry to do something” after the forward returned to full fitness from battling malaria.
This season has proved to be difficult for the Gabonese forward after he signed a lucrative deal last summer.
Despite getting 15 goals and 3 assists already this season, it is still way off the regular rate of goals seen from the striker since he moved to North London.
With everything that had happened this season, Auba’s hit-and-miss performances can be blamed on off-field issues and a lack of creativity around him. However, Arteta believes Auba is in the mood right the wrongs.
“You know Auba’s character, he’s someone really lively, always joking, always smiling,” said the boss ahead of Thursday’s Europa League semi-final second leg with Villarreal.
“He had a difficult season so many of us as a club and a staff try to support him as much as possible the way that the team did as well.
“When he had some personal issues they were right behind him. As I said before football gives you an opportunity. He’s in a good place right now and he’s very hungry to do something.”
He added: “Everything affects but you have to come through that. It’s about how you react to the difficulties in your career which you’re going to have at some stage.
“He had some this season and it’s about showing the direction and the capacity to overcome that.”
Aubameyang has also come out to state how important this match is to the team and his readiness for this big moment.
Speaking on the task ahead, he said: “I am really excited to play this game tomorrow because it is a big game and it’s a big moment for all of us. Hopefully, we deliver again.
“For sure it will be one of [the biggest games of my Arsenal career]. Definitely this season is the most important game and we know that we have to win this game.
“It is a big opportunity for us to get to the final, we play at home and this is maybe the biggest game of my Arsenal career.”