Auba backed to break Chelsea No.9 curse


Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang can smash the “curse” of the Chelsea number nine shirt and become a Blues favourite, according to boss Thomas Tuchel.
Former Arsenal captain Aubameyang completed a return to the Premier League on Thursday when he left Barcelona in a deal worth £10.3m, signing a two-year deal.
As well as winning over Chelsea fans who remember him as a recent opponent from a rival London side, Aubameyang also faces the task of living up to his shirt number.
A string of well-known strikers have struggled to impress as Chelsea’s number nine, including Alvaro Morata, Gonzalo Higuain, Radamel Falcao and more recently Romelu Lukaku.
Head coach Tuchel dismissed concerns over Aubameyang’s attitude, after a four-year spell at Arsenal came to an acrimonious end in February, insisting he knows the Gabonese striker well enough from their time together at Borussia Dortmund for there to be no cause for worry.
“Auba is in my point of view always happy to fight for something and to accept the challenge,” Tuchel said. “The more challenges he has, the better it is.
“If he wants to overcome the number nine curse or he wants to show someone in London that he’s better than people think about him, the more the better, because he’s up for that and he’s happy.
“I know him as very focused and in general very open and a person with an open heart and happy to be on the pitch every day.
“This is what we wanted. He’s a very positive influence on any group. He is up for any challenge and he’s happy to be on the pitch and score goals.”
Tuchel said Aubameyang was “ready to write his own history” at Stamford Bridge, explaining: “I imagine everybody’s happy he chose the club in blue now instead of the club in red.”
His portrayal of the former Gunner as an instinctive grafter might surprise some, but Tuchel hailed Aubameyang’s pressing qualities and his work rate.
“That’s what made him special in Dortmund, when he worked for me, and it’s what made him captain of Arsenal, and he lifted some trophies there,” Tuchel said.
“I think just to reduce him on his last half a year or half season (at Arsenal) where things became difficult … I cannot judge it, but it’s very rare in these situations where it’s one person’s problem.
“I’m not there to judge about anything, because it is none of my business. I can just tell you how I met Auba and how Auba was for me. At any club he scored and won titles. he has a winning mentality and he has the positivity to be a huge influence in that group.”
Chelsea face West Ham in the Premier League on Saturday, but Aubameyang will play no part as he recovers from a jaw injury sustained when his home was raided by burglars on Sunday.