( Please note this Article was written in March 2021)
The North London derby between Arsenal and Tottenham took place on Sunday. Despite a victory for Arsenal the main talking point for the club was not the result but the fact that their captain, best player and talisman Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was left on the bench.
It quickly became clear that this was not due an injury or other sort of physical problem but due to the fact that he had been late to the team meeting point. He therefore did not exhibit the first of the 10 small things that make a big difference, something that is used as part of the Powering Your Potential Programme.
The first small thing that makes a big difference is being on time. As Club Captain you need to be aware that you are a leader, setting an example to the younger players and vital to the preparation process of such a big game!
We are led to believe that this is not the first time that this has happened either with Arsenal or with his former club in Germany, Borussia Dortmund and therefore he has not been coachable. People have seemingly repeatedly informed him that this is an area he needs to address, but he has not been able to change his ways and improve.
He has also not been prepared. Being a home game, it must be a regular journey that he needed to make so knew how long it should take him to get there. There would be awareness that there could be traffic and when he needed to leave or the route he needed to take to avoid it. Put simply you need to be prepared for things that could happen or go wrong and you need to plan for them happening.
This behaviour means you could start to question his work ethic because like anyone else working with others, you are in a situation where it is not just about you doing your job to the best of your ability but enabling or allowing the people around you to do theirs.
Arsenal Manager, Mikael Arteta has, as a result of the actions of his Captain, been forced to deal with all sorts of issues including a change of team, potentially tactics, a plethora of press questions and unwanted explanations and distractions. Not only has Arteta got to the point where he has been forced to make an example of his star player and his attitude towards the rest of the team and drop him for the game but he has put himself under a huge amount of pressure should the result have gone against him!.
The derby game will be one of, if not the games of the season, for the majority of fans of both clubs. Aubameyang has therefore not demonstrated anywhere near the passion that I’m sure the North London fans of both clubs would both have and expect of the players for this crucial match.
And that passion translates into the energy that is required to be exhibited, and the effort that is required to give your all in such a match.
If you can’t have the passion for such a big game or demonstrate the energy and effort to turn up on time and participate in one of the games of the season for your club and your fans then it draws into question so many other things around your commitment to the club.
As an unused substitute, he would normally be required take part in some post match, running exercises, stretching and warm down. The radio commentators made a particular point of highlighting that he did not participate with the other substitutes in the post match routine and therefore he also wasn’t prepared to be involved in the doing extra.
I would suggest, to make up for his mistake he should have been the one leading the running after the game to set the example and make good on his apologies.
While sitting in the stands as an unused substitute it was also clear from his body language he was unhappy about the situation. A situation that he caused and could easily have been avoided.
So whatever level you are at, regardless of how talented you are, whether you’re starting out, whether you’re the peak of your career, whether you’re setting an example and being looked up to.
10 small things that make a big difference apply to every aspect of your life and should be adopted and embedded into your day to day activity and never forget hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard but that is a whole other story!
If you feel you have more potential than you are currently realising then the Powering Your Potential programme is for you.