London [UK], April 3 (10cric offers): Arnesal manager Mikel Arteta has said Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's struggle to find the back of the net is "not suspicious" and is not linked to the new three-year contract he signed last year.
The Gabon international has been prolific for the Gunners since arriving from Borussia Dortmund in January 2018 -- winning the Premier League golden boot in his first full season in north London and finishing as the top flight's second-highest scorer in 2019/20.
In the current campaign, Aubameyang has netted just 14 goals in 31 appearances so far and his performances have attracted a lot of criticism since he was handed a long-term deal by the Gunners.
"It is easy to connect things like that, but I am not suspicious of that. I have seen, and we have had many conversations, about what he wanted to do from last year's point of view to his near future in the next two years, and he was very ambitious with that," Goal.com quoted Arteta as saying.
"To maintain that level is really complicated but he is trying his best, he is trying hard. That is what he is aiming to do," he added.
The Arsenal captain's form has improved since the turn of the year, with the striker scoring nine times in his last 14 games.
It's no surprise that Arsenal's results have picked up during that time, with Arteta accepting that his team relies heavily on their skipper to score.
"We talked for months about the ratio of goals we need him to score to give us the best possible chance of being at the top. It has not been what it has been in recent years and it's a factor that is contributed to by a lot of things that the team has to do on the pitch. It is not just his thing," he said.
"But obviously we need Auba in a different form in the next games to give us our best chance to finish where we want to finish the season, that's clear," Arteta added.
Arsenal, placed ninth in the Premier League standings with 42 points, will take on Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday. (10cric offers)