Here is something to think about.
The Guardians Ben McAleer suggest this idea why not start Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang together.
This could really be a novel. It really could work.
Why not do it?
“It was no coincidence that Arsenal won with Alexandre Lacazette in the starting XI on Sunday. Despite the best efforts of Petr Cech between the sticks, Arsenal came away from Cardiff with a 3-2 victory. Lacazette provided the assist for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s first league goal of the season before firing in the winner 10 minutes from time.
Lacazette was making his first start of the season, having featured from the bench against Manchester City, Chelsea and West Ham. The 27-year-old didn’t disappoint, putting in a man-of-the-match performance. Unsurprisingly, Arsenal looked more threatening in the final third with both Lacazette and Aubameyang starting, the latter moving from a central role to the left flank, where he can maximise his speed to put opposition full-backs on the back foot. Aubameyang’s best work comes when the ball is in front of him where he can either hit the back of the net from close range or has a through ball to run on to.
It’s a fairly limited approach compared to Lacazette, who is effective at both utilising his speed to burst past opponents as he is with his back to goal to hold up the ball for teammates. Lacazette is top for key passes per 90 (2.9) of all Arsenal players this season. Indeed, Arsenal are a far more rounded side going forward with the former Lyon man leading the charge.
He is able to knit Arsenal’s attacking play together in Unai Emery’s preferred 4-2-3-1 setup, particularly with the variety of players at the Spaniard’s disposal in the final third. On Sunday, Emery went for an attacking trio of Mesut Özil, Aaron Ramsey and Aubameyang behind Lacazette and each of that trio bring something different to the attack, which adds to the unpredictability of the side.
Crucially, though, it lessens the defensive burden on Aubameyang and grants the Gabon player more space to switch on the afterburners and leave full-backs for dust. Traditionally, with fewer players out wide than in the middle of the pitch, this plays to Aubameyang’s strengths, particularly with the defensive-minded Nacho Monreal operating at left-back, thus ensuring the January signing doesn’t have to drop back as frequently, which then allows the forward to maximise his energy in putting opponents to the sword.
n this instance, among others, Lacazette is key. It’s perhaps unsurprising that Arsenal’s win ratio with Lacazette starting in the Premier League (59.3%) is better than it is without the France international (33.3%), with Arsenal’s goals per game increasing from 1.53 to 2.19 when the striker features from the off. There may have been a hint of fortune about Arsenal’s capture of Lacazette, with his move to Atlético Madrid falling through and allowing the Gunners a clear shot at the forward, but he’s proven that their loss has been the Premier League side’s gain.
Emery will have his reasons for why Lacazette didn’t start any of the opening three league matches, yet it’ll be harder to keep him on the bench in the foreseeable future. Given his all-round approach, Lacazette is the ideal forward to benefit the team as they appeared far more comfortable in attack on Sunday with Aubameyang out wide and the Frenchman spearheading the charge. He’s honed his game excellently to play the role of the lone frontman in France and with his array of talents in both scoring and providing for others, it would be in Emery’s best interests to continue with a similar attacking setup.
Aubameyang would rather be the main man, but he is unlikely to dislodge Lacazette as the primary frontman unless the latter endures a dismal run. Even so, his work both on and off the ball means Lacazette is the better suited of the two to lead the charge on the frontline. That being said, with Aubameyang operating on the left and Lacazette deployed through the middle, Arsenal were more effective last season with the blossoming partnership between the pair playing to their respective strengths and after at long last earning his first league start of the campaign, the latter is more than deserving of a regular spot in the starting XI.