Alexandre Lacazette will be back for Arsenal after the international break and the potential partnership he could form with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is a mouth-watering prospect. It is, for me, the way forward for the Gunners.
Last season, Arsenal had three strikers — Olivier Giroud, Danny Welbeck and Lucas Perez. They may be decent centre-forwards, but they lacked the upper-tier quality of a truly world class attacker.
That was a huge problem for Arsenal. Due to the inefficiencies of the aforementioned trio, Arsene Wenger was forced to deploy Alexis Sanchez as a false-nine. Sure, it worked to some extent, but he was far from the ideal out-and-out spearhead to lead the line.
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But since last year, the club has recognised their problem and, at least in regards to their personnel, addressed it. The Gunners broke their transfer record not once but twice in the past six months to recruit two new centre-forwards: Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Lacazette is not just a poacher, as he was perhaps billed before his signing. He is much more than that. One of the things that has impressed me most about him is his link-up play. His ability to play flicks, like when Mesut Ozil chipped over Simon Mignolet to make the scoreline 3-2 against Liverpool back in December 2017, his close-control, his deceptive strength with his back to the goal, able to back his way into defenders to shield the ball. They all comprise quite a striker.
Aubameyang, on the other hand, is different. While both players have certain similarities like their lethal ability in front of goal, Aubameyang prefers to play on the peripheries of the game. He is always waiting in the penalty box, anticipating the pass to arrive at him. He is consistently alert to developing situations and doesn’t intervene much in the passing combinations before it matters most. They may be natural goalscorers, but there is a nuance to their respective games that separate the two.
Last season, Aubameyang scored 40 goals in 46 appearances for Borussia Dortmund, while Lacazette scored 37 goals in 45 appearances for Lyon. So, despite their contrasting styles, they both score goals. I believe that they can score goals alongside one another.
Their styles are complementary. Lacazette draws centre-backs towards him, links up the play neatly, thereby freeing up space for Aubameyang to scamper into. With players of the technical quality of Granit Xhaka, Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Mesut Ozil supplying, they will pick out Aubameyang’s runs more often than not.
When Lacazette does not get involved in the link-up play earlier in attacking moves, he serves as a lethal presence in the box, pushing onto the shoulder. Premier league defenders are not going to be very confident when they see Aubameyang joined by Lacazette lurking in the penalty box to tap home.
Thus, the 4-3-1-2 formation could be the way forward for Arsenal to accommodate these two-world class strikers. Personally, I cannot wait to see Aubameyang and Lacazette playing together. It will be a sight to behold.