Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is ready to wheel out his super human goal celebration.
The Arsenal striker, who has previously donned a Batman mask to celebrate a goal for Borussia Dortmund against Schalke in 2015, had planned to show off his flamboyant side against Manchester United.
However, after tucking away his penalty in the 2-0 win, he was left stumped.
“I had a special celebration planned but I couldn’t find my mask,” he explained.
“I asked a member of the staff to put it in the back of the net but when I scored the penalty I couldn’t find it.
“But no worries. Maybe next time.”
Arsenal are next in action on Thursday night when the Premier League side host Rennes in their Europa League last 16 second leg tie.
Aubameyang’s penalty for the season took his tally to 19 in all competitions and will have been relieved to beat David de Gea from 12 yards considering Hugo Lloris saved his previous spot-kick in the north London derby.
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“I watched my miss against Tottenham a lot. I knew that I made a mistake but I felt confident on Sunday and everybody said I would score this time.
“After Alexandre Lacazette got the penalty, he threw the ball to me and said, ‘You have to shoot’. And I was ready to score.”
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United beat Arsenal 3-1 in the FA Cup in January which saw Jesse Lingard perform the moonwalk in celebration of a first-half goal and later described the Emirates as a ‘dance floor’ in a social media post, which Mesut Ozil had a cheeky dig about after the game.
Arsenal goalkeeper said players remember things like that. “In your mind you will never forget something like that, when somebody is celebrating.
“You don’t want to see it again so we were motivated and we knew before the game about our chance because United had one more point than us. Now we have two points [between the teams] and that was enough motivation for us.”
The Gunners are now fourth with Champions League qualification a real prospect.
“We had two great games against Tottenham and Manchester United and now we feel it’s in our hands,” Aubameyang added.
“We know that it will be tough but we are really hungry to get back into the Champions League.
“That’s been our goal since the beginning of the season and we know that we have two ways to achieve it — with the Europa League — but the Premier League is the first and most important way.”
Arsenal said in a statement Mislintat “has done a truly outstanding job in helping us recruit players who are making a big impact now and will do so even more in the future.”
The Gunners have made eight signings since the 46-year-old has been at the Emirates and this got us thinking – how good have they actually been?
Below you can see talkSPORT.com’s review of how Arsenal’s eight newest signings have done so far and what the future is likely to hold for them.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – 8/10
It’s been almost a year since Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang joined Arsenal and he’s been good so far.
He’s a world-class forward, scoring 24 goals in 36 Premier League appearances and always looks a threat, especially when playing alongside fellow striker Alexandre Lacazette but manager Unai Emery is often reluctant to play two strikers in a game.
Aubameyang, 29, has a few good years left in him and the only concern for Arsenal may be that bigger clubs could pursue the Gabon international if the team doesn’t progress. For now though, his future at the Emirates looks very secure.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan – 5/10
Another January 2018 recruit, Henrikh Mkhitaryan was part of the swap deal that saw Alexis Sanchez move to Manchester United.
The Armenian has hardly set the world alight at Arsenal but he’s had much more of a positive impact than Sanchez has at Old Trafford.
Injury has held Mkhitaryan back a bit but Gooners will be hoping he can improve after his latest setback – a foot injury sustained in December.
Konstantinos Mavropanos – 5/10
The 21-year-old has made just three appearances for Arsenal since signing over a year ago but a lot of this is due to injury.
Konstantinos Mavropanos picked up a groin strain at the start of the season and only returned to training this month.
However, he’s viewed as a long-term investment and could even get his chance to impress soon with injuries to Hector Bellerin, Rob Holding and Nacho Monreal’s leaving their defensive resources depleted.
The Greek was signed for £2.2million – peanuts in today’s market.
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Lucas Torreira – 9/10
It’s between Aubameyang and Lucas Torreira as Mislintat’s best recruit but the Uruguayan edges it because he was a player that Arsenal desperately needed.
Torreira is a tough-tackling defensive midfielder, who breaks up the play of the opposition well and has given Arsenal the steel they have lacked in the middle of the park for so long.
Sokratis Papasthathopolous joined in the summer from Borussia Dortmund for £18million and has been decent value for the fee.
The Greek has shown good leadership in some games – working well with Laurent Koscielny to keep Eden Hazard quiet last weekend during their victory over Chelsea.
But there have also been some disastrous defensive performances from Arsenal this season including a 5-1 defeat at Liverpool in December.
Sokratis should stick around for a few more years but if Arsenal are serious about challenging for league titles in future then they’ll have to recruit someone a bit better than the 30-year-old.
Matteo Guendouzi – 6/10
This score might be a bit harsh as Matteo Guendouzi has shown he has talent in some games but the Frenchman hasn’t done it consistently enough at present.
The Gunners signed Guendouzi in the summer from French club Lorient and at 19, he is definitely viewed as one for the future.
He’s made 20 out of a possible 23 appearances in the Premier League for the club which is an impressive haul for a player who’s still developing.
Unai Emery – 7/10
When Arsene Wenger said goodbye to Arsenal after 22 years at the club, whoever succeeded the Frenchman was going to be the most important piece of recruitment under Mislintat.
And generally, Emery has been a success. He guided Arsenal to a 22-game unbeaten run in all competitions earlier this season. The fixtures were generally quite kind to them but it’s still a noteworthy achievement.
However, with the departures of Mislintat, chief executive Ivan Gazidis and director of football Raul Sanllehi all in quick succession, the circus upstairs could prevent the Spaniard from restoring Arsenal as a team that regularly makes the top four.
The summer transfer window saw three of the so-called ‘Big Six’ Premier League teams splash out big money on new goalkeepers.
Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal spent a combined total of £157.9million on bringing Kepa Arrizabalaga, Alisson Becker and Bernd Leno to England.
Alisson’s £67m transfer to Merseyside in July was a record fee for a glovesman, only for that to be surpassed a matter of weeks later when Kepa completed his move to Stamford Bridge for a whopping £71.6m.
Meanwhile, Leno joined Arsenal for the cheapest price of £19.3m – still a sizeable amount for a goalkeeper.
So how have the trio performed at their respective clubs?
talkSPORT has gathered the evidence to see whether Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal have acquired duds or studs.
Kepa: 9 in 16 games
Alisson: 8 in 16 games
Leno: 3 in 9 games
These stats certainly suggest Kepa is performing the best. He has kept one more clean sheet than Alisson and has played the same number of games as the Reds stopper.
Kepa has also conceded fewer goals than Alisson. Leno only has three clean sheets to his name but has played fewer games.
However, if the German is to keep going at the same rate then his clean sheet rate and goals conceded rate will be worse than both Kepa and Alisson’s.
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When a goalkeeper makes a mistake, it’s likely to directly lead to a goal. Therefore, an ability to not make any errors is the mark of a great keeper.
Again, Kepa comes out on top with only one slight mistake so far – letting Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s long-range shot squirm under his hands during Chelsea’s 3-2 victory over Arsenal.
Leno has only made one small error which led to James Milner striking a loose ball home during the Gunners’ 1-1 draw at home to Liverpool earlier this month.
The error count does not look too kindly on Alisson, however, with mistakes against Arsenal and Red Star Belgrade leading to goals.
Kepa was a very important recruit following the departure of Thibaut Courtois but to label him as one of Chelsea’s key players would be a stretch.
Should Kepa ever get injured, the Blues have Willy Caballero ready to step in. Losing the likes of Eden Hazard, N’Golo Kante, Jorginho or Cesar Azpilicueta would be much more of a concern for Maurizio Sarri.
Leno arguably has similar importance to the Gunners fold as Kepa has too. He was needed to gradually replace an ageing Petr Cech but Leno’s absence would not be a disaster for Arsenal.
His level of importance will rise if he can continue to impress though.
Alisson is vital to Liverpool, however. Despite his tendency to commit sloppy mistakes, his presence has restored some order from the dark days of Simon Mignolet and Loris Karius being the No.1.
Liverpool’s defence appears to be more relaxed with Alisson behind them too.
It’s clear the stats look better on Kepa but these do not always paint a full picture of how he’s performed.
He has more clean sheets than Alisson but as Chelsea are playing in the Europa League and Liverpool are playing in the Champions League, Alisson has generally played against a higher standard of opponent so far.
Alisson has made more mistakes than the three keepers but it’s clear there is more of a reliance on him at Liverpool than there is for Kepa and Leno at Chelsea and Arsenal respectively.
We’ll have a better idea of how much Leno copes when he faces more top teams later in the campaign but it seems Kepa has generally been the better keeper but Alisson is more important to his team’s set-up than the other two.
Petr Cech will struggle to get back into the Arsenal first XI after Bernd Leno’s impressive run in the team, believes Gunners legend David Seaman.
Cech is available to manager Unai Emery again after four weeks on the sidelines with with a hamstring problem.
The veteran glovesman, 36, pulled up during a Premier League clash against Watford after he took a goal kick, and was replaced by Leno.
It gave the £22million summer signing his first real chance to impress in an Arsenal shirt and the German – ten years Cech’s junior – has not looked back since.
While Cech initially struggled with Emery’s new ‘play it out from the back’ style, Leno has done well and he was selected ahead of the former Chelsea man for Arsenal’s game against Crystal Palace at the weekend, which ended in a 2-2 draw.
And Seaman believes 26-year-old Leno is now firmly the number one at the Emirates, saying that only a series of poor performances will let Cech back into the frame.
Listen to David Seaman’s comments on Wednesday’s Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast IN FULL above!
He was no where near as bad as his centre-half partner but Holding sometimes struggled when the likes of Wilfried Zaha and Max Meyer got on the ball in the second-half.
Granit Xhaka – 7
Xhaka was once again being used in a make-shift left-back role but the Switzerland international acquitted himself well. A brilliant free-kick brought Arsenal back into the contest and Xhaka was very unlucky to be penalised for fouling Zaha for Palace’s second penalty.
Lucas Torreira – 5
Emery will be disappointed Palace got as much joy going forward as they did considering Arsenal were playing two defensive midfielders. Not Torreira’s best game for the Gunners.
Matteo Guendouzi – 6
The youngster had a few nice moments and picked up a yellow card to break up a threatening Palace attack at the end but along with Torreira could have had more control of the game as the home side looked for their equaliser.
Alex Iwobi – 5
Iwobi was not as effective as he has been this season and didn’t offer a great deal to his side going forward.
Mesut Ozil – 6
A decent display from Ozil even if his work wasn’t always noticed. However, when taken off midway through the second-half, the German was visibly upset and appeared to snub a handshake with his manager.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – 7
Aubameyang struggled to get into the game at points but was alert enough to get a goal in the second-half which almost got his side the three points and a record-breaking win.
Alexandre Lacazette – 6
Missed a very good chance to give his side the lead in the first-half and was very lucky to avoid being penalised for a crafty handball in the lead up to Aubameyang’s goal.
SUB – Stephan Lichtsteiner – 6
The full-back came on for Bellerin at half-time and helped give Arsenal that extra oomph at first but struggled to deal with the likes of Meyer and Zaha later in the second-half.
SUB – Danny Welbeck – 4
Welback rather surprisingly came on for Ozil and really struggled to get in touch with the speed and intensity of the game.
SUB – Aaron Ramsey – N/A
Failed to do anything of note in his brief time on the pitch. Ramsey’s Arsenal future looks increasingly ominous.
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Bernd Leno admits it has been a frustrating start to life at Arsenal – but the goalkeeper now intends to build on his debut and push to be first-choice at the Emirates Stadium.
The 26-year-old joined the Gunners from Bayer Leverkusen in the summer but had to wait for Thursday night’s 4-2 Europa League win over Vorskla Poltava to make his bow.
A Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang double, as well as goals from Danny Welbeck and Mesut Ozil, had set Arsenal on their way to a comfortable start to their European campaign.
But Leno could not toast his debut with a clean sheet as Vorskla rallied and halved the arrears – Volodymyr Chesnakov pulling a goal back before Vyacheslav Sharpar scored with the final kick of the evening.
Capped six times by Germany, many expected Leno to come straight in as the number one at Arsenal after joining in a deal reported to be worth upwards of £20million.
Instead Petr Cech has been preferred in the four Premier League games under new Gunners boss Unai Emery – with Leno chomping at the bit to secure a regular berth in the side.
Asked if he had been frustrated at being made to wait to make his debut, Leno replied: “Of course, because I came to the club to play every game.
“But I think to move to a bigger club, another country, it needs maybe a little bit of time. It is a little bit frustrating but I keep calm and work very hard to improve.
“I think my performances in training are good. I train very hard and maybe it needs a little bit of time. I keep calm. My chance will come.
“I came for the Premier League. I think it is the best league. The Bundesliga is good but the Premier League is better so I will look forward to playing anytime in the Premier League.”
Leno revealed Emery has not come to a specific arrangement with his goalkeepers over who will play in which matches, and added that he has a good working relationship with Cech.
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“The coach always makes the starting XI based on the performance,” he said.
“I think it could change, not every week, but he will change a lot. He didn’t say the Premier League is Petr’s competition and the Europa League is mine. I will work hard every day to play more games.
“We have fun together. We push each other and I think the competition with us is very good. We both can improve and it’s still going.
“Of course, (Petr) is a big personality. He had a big career and is still a very good goalkeeper -it is very good to work with him and for my development it is very good to have the competition with him.”
Despite being an ever-present in the league under Emery, Cech has come in for criticism as he appears uncomfortable at playing out from the back – something the new head coach is keen to implement.
Leno is more at home with the ball at his feet but admits a goalkeeper needs to know when it is possible to do so.
“It is a little bit more risky to play because we don’t want to kick the ball up front,” he added.
“We want to play because we have the players to play from the back to have more space in the opposite 18-yard box.
“But it needs a little bit of time for the whole team to improve and to get the confidence.”
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