Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has admitted he has been “struggling a lot” this season and says his poor form could be connected to his exertions for Arsenal last summer.
The Gunners ended last season with five wins in 10 games to finish eighth, while they also lifted the FA Cup with a win over Chelsea.
Aubameyang scored from the spot in that 2-1 win to take his goal tally to 29 for the season in which he started 41 games from 44 matches in all competitions.
However, despite signing a new contract to keep him in north London in the summer, the goals have dried up this season.
The 31-year-old has scored just three times in 15 Premier League appearances and has been criticised for his lacklustre form.
Asked about his lack of goals, Aubameyang told Sky Sports: “From the beginning of this season I was struggling a lot but I think this is part of football.
“We gave a lot at the end of the season to win the FA Cup and to qualify for the Europa League because it was really important for the club.
“Sometimes you have ups and downs and you have to manage as best you can. I tried my best and until now it was not the best performance from me.”
The former Borussia Dortmund star has said he has tried to keep in a positive frame of mind.
“It’s really hard to manage both but you have to be as positive as you can because the team needs you,” Aubameyang said.
“I always try to give my best, not only on the pitch but also in the dressing room for the guys.
“Sometimes it’s hard and maybe you are not in the right mood but you have to find a way to change it and give positive vibes for the guys.
“At the moment we are playing well and we have to follow this way,” Aubameyang said. “If we win the couple of games that are coming we can turn around the situation.
“We are not so far from the top six so this is the moment to be back in the competition.”
Mari return comes at a cost
Meanwhile, Mikel Arteta’s decision to bring Pablo Mari back into the heart of Arsenal’s defence looks a costly one.
The centre-back moved to the Emirates from Flamengo initially on loan last January and has recently returned from injury to cement a place in Arteta’s starting line-up.
The Spaniard has proved to be a key member of an Arsenal team that has won their last three league matches.
However, his new-found status will come at a cost to Arteta’s men.
If Mari is selected for the Gunners’ home clash with Crystal Palace on Thursday, Arsenal will have to pay £900,000 to his former club Flamengo, reports Globo Esporte (as cited by the Daily Mirror).