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SPORTS UPDATE

Aubameyang: Arsenal’s rejected, Barca’s cornerstone

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has shown Arsenal what they’re missing after netting a memorable hat-trick on his first start for his new club Barcelona.

The former Arsenal captain, who was shown the door in January by Mikel Arteta after losing the captaincy, has found his love for the game once again in Spain after completing a deadline day transfer.

Aubameyang was signed as part of a January overhaul from Barcelona boss Xavi, who also landed Premier League stars Ferran Torres and Adama Traore from Manchester City and Wolves, respectively.

Now Barca are beginning to look like a different side after recently beating Atletico Madrid 4-2 at Camp Nou.

Their four-game unbeaten run continued this afternoon with a resounding 4-1 win at Valencia in La Liga.

Barcelona look sharp from the get-go and opened the scoring when Aubameyang broke free down the right, firing into the top corner at the near post.

Frenkie de Jong then added a second as Xavi’s men looked to kill the game before half-time.

Things would get even better though for Aubameyang, who could barely believe his luck when the ball was played to him across the face of goal for a tap-in.

Carlos Soler then pulled one back for Valencia before Barcelona sealed all three points through a freak effort.

Youngster Pedri let fly from range but the strike appeared to deflect off Aubameyang’s back, leaving Valencia goalkeeper Giorgi Mamardashvili with no chance.

La Liga’s dubious goals panel have since awarded Aubameyang the goal, meaning it was a hat-trick for the Gabon international on his first start in his new colours.

The 32-year-old last hit a treble in August in the Carabao Cup against West Brom at The Hawthorns, while Barcelona have not scored a hat-trick since Lionel Messi’s in February 2020 against Eibar.

While Arsenal have coped admirably since Aubameyang was cast aside by Arteta – the striker’s performance was a timely reminder of his star quality in front of goal.

Arsenal appeared quick to dispose of their former skipper and Arteta refused to offer him a fresh start – instead forcing him out of the door.

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