Perry Groves says Jamie Redknapp was ‘silly’ to say Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was ‘past his best as he backed the Arsenal striker to surpass 20 goals again this season.
Aubameyang scored two crucial goals as his side saw off Benfica to reach the last-16 of the Europa League on Thursday evening.
For large parts of the season, he has struggled to find his best form – finding the net just three times in the first 16 games of the Premier League campaign.
He returned after an absence, for family reasons, to hit a brilliant hat-trick against Leeds – but that led to the damning comments by former Liverpool and Tottenham midfielder Redknapp.
“Aubameyang is past his best,” he told Sky Sports. “He’s going to have moments; he’s going to get hat-tricks. But when I watch him sometimes, it’s like he’s lost his superpower.
“I saw him run past people when he first came to the Premier League. I saw him run past people at [Borussia] Dortmund.
“Now I’m seeing a player who looks like he’s going to get bullied.”
Aubameyang shared a post on Instagram after the Gunners triumphed over Benfica, in which he responded to Redknapp’s comments using a laughing emoji over a screenshot of the article.
And Arsenal legend Groves insists the 31-year-old is far from finished at the highest level.
In fact, he is certain he will end 2020/21 with a flourish and increase his goal tally – currently at 13 in all competitions – beyond 20 for the third successive season.
“It was good to see Aubameyang prove he’s not a busted flush, as apparently Jamie Redknapp said after the Man City game that he’s lost all his superpower and he’s not the player he was,” he told talkSPORT.
“So on that basis does that mean Jamie Vardy is a busted flush because he didn’t score last night against Slavia Prague?
“He’d missed three chances against Benfica, and someone who has played football – I know you have to have opinions – will know Aubameyang is a centre-forward who goes through those patches when he doesn’t score. That’s it.
“Those two goals he scored last night, especially the first one, was typical Aubameyang. He will still get you 20-25 goals.
“He’ll end up with 22/23 goals probably this season. So to say he was finished was a bit of a silly thing to say.”