Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is as talented as Thierry Henry, claims Arsenal legend Martin Keown

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is the closest thing Arsenal have had to Thierry Henry since the Frenchman left the club in 2007, according to former Gunners defender Martin Keown.

Arsenal were held to a goalless draw by Sporting in the Europa League on Thursday as Aubameyang – who came on after just 30 minutes due to a serious ankle injury suffered by Danny Welbeck – missed several good chances to win the match for his side.

Keown is a huge fan of Aubameyang’s talent, but believes Arsenal need to push him to consistently make the same level of impact as their all-time record goalscorer.

“He is the closest thing to Thierry Henry that I have seen since he left the club, he really is that good,” Keown said of Aubameyang on BT Sport.

“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 registered nine goals and one assist in 15 appearances for Arsenal in all competitions this season, but he failed to find his killer touch against Sporting – though defender Jeremy Mathieu was shown a straight red card for bringing the striker down as he raced through on goal.

“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,” Keown added. “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.”

Fellow BT Sport pundit Joe Cole agreed with Keown’s assessment, saying that Aubameyang needs to hold himself to a higher standard if he wants to do justice to his ability.

“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,” Cole said. “His goalscoring 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 [Harry] Kane or [Sergio] Aguero. I think he played within himself and he just needs a little push.”

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