Preparing for the Future
In Arsene Wenger’s final season at Arsenal, he signed two outstanding strikers, spending a combined £105m on Lacazette from Lyon and Aubameyang from Dortmund. While this is a hefty outlay, both strikers had provided significant returns during the 2016/17 season, and Wenger was clearly setting up the club with a pair of pacey, technically gifted strikers, who were playing at their peak.
In 2016/17, Lacazette scored 28 league goals for the French side, averaging a staggering 0.93 goals per game. Aubameyang also enjoyed the most prolific season of his career, bagging 31 goals, at a rate of 0.97 goals per game.
While Giroud was a key cog in the Arsenal mentality, and Arsenal had Welbeck, Perez and Walcott at the club still, it was a bold statement of intent from Arsenal to sign to strikers of such quality.
New manager Unai Emery has been wary so far about using both strikers at the same time, an understandable decision with the unpopularity of using two strikers in the modern game, particularly with another attack-minded player in the form of Mesut Ozil.
The pair have a combined 8 appearances this season (albeit three of Lacazette’s have been from the bench) and two goals. Considering the attacking virility these two hold, fans will be keeping a close eye on the duo, and will be excepting a greater return on investment over the coming months.
The only time the pair have started together this season was away at Cardiff. Almost proving the lack of defensive stability, the game finished 3-2 to the Gunners, as the team were irresistible going forwards, but conceded two to a side that hadn’t scored all season.
A Winning Formula?
However, in the last 7 seasons, 4 Premier League champions have used a variation on a 4-4-2, using two strikers to batter the opposition defences, outscoring their opponents. It would make sense, therefore, for Arsenal to progress with Aubameyang and Lacazette together.
Even if they don’t play as out and out strikers together, having two players with such goalscoring ability on the pitch together is likely to pay dividends in the long run. Arsenal come up against Newcastle this weekend, hopefully Emery will persist with the attacking pair, particularly against a stubborn Benitez defence.