Mikel Arteta had won a lot of plaudits for his work at Arsenal in the first half of the 2021/22 season, but his Gunners side have hit a difficult patch of late and in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's absence they have seriously struggled for goals.
Games against Nottingham Forest, Liverpool (two) and Burnley have come and gone without Arsenal managing to score a goal, not netting since taking the lead against Manchester City on New Year's Day, a game in which they took the lead but went on to lose. Prior to that they had scored 14 in three games and everything looked rosy in north London.
One of the most notable events of Arsenal's season so far, though, was Arteta's decision to strip Aubameyang of the captain's armband after the forward returned late from an authorised trip to France to visit family. The fallout dominated media coverage for a number of days, and it wasn't the first time the 32-year-old had upset his coach.
Aubameyang could help Arsenal
Now, given the Gunners' struggles in front of goal, it might be time for Arteta to rebuild those bridges with Aubameyang, as he returns from the Africa Cup of Nations without having played a minute due to a health concern.
Although Aubameyang hadn't been enjoying his best season at the club, he had scored seven times in 15 games across all competitions - as well as adding two assists - prior to his disciplinary breach.
His record under Arteta is more than respectable too, netting 38 times and assisting eight in 76 appearances for the Spaniard.
With a move for Fiorentina's Dusan Vlahovic looking increasingly unlikely to come off this January, Arsenal and Arteta could do a lot worse than reintegrating Aubameyang, even if he isn't quite at the same level he has shown in earlier years of his career.