Is there room for Aubameyang and Lacazette in the Arsenal starting XI?
Both started Arsenal’s first pre-season game
Arsenal have already been active in this summer’s transfer window, wrapping up deals for five players so far.
Unai Emery has brought in Bernd Leno, Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Lucas Torreira have been brought in to help shore up the backline.
But the new Arsenal boss isn’t likely to make any additions up front. He’s inherited two top-class strikers in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette.
Lacazette scored a respectable 14 league goals last season, despite struggling with injury. Aubameyang got 10 league goals in just 12 top-flight starts following his arrival in January.
Can Emery find room for the two of them in his Arsenal side?
Space out wide
Emery’s previous sides have usually played in a 4-3-3 or a 4-2-3-1 system, with just one central striker.
But Arsene Wenger occasionally played the Gabon international wide on the left towards the end of his reign. His speed allows him to cut inside from the flank with menace, while also creating space for Lacazette to operate up front.
Unai Emery started with that set-up in the first game of his reign in North London last weekend. National League side Boreham Wood weren’t testing opposition, but Aubameyang hit a hat-trick within 17 minutes. Lacazette got on the scoresheet too before a raft of half-time changes.
Try the diamond for size
If Emery wants to start both of them up front, a diamond formation could be well suited to the players at his disposal.
Arsenal have two excellent strikers, an abundance of central midfielders and playmakers, but no natural wingers.
A diamond would provide protection for the defence with Torreira in the anchor role. That would allow Aaron Ramsey and Granit Xhaka to influence the game without being overburdened with defensive work, while Mesut Ozil would have a solid foundation behind him to create.
Ahead of that foursome, Lacazette and Aubameyang could form a very productive partnership.
Lacazette tends to drift and link up with his teammates. That would open up room for Aubameyang in behind. The former Borussia Dortmund star plays on the shoulder of the defence and rarely joins in the build-up.
Make a choice
Of course, Emery may prefer to play with just one of them and include an extra midfielder in the side.
Aubameyang has proven himself at a higher level than Lacazette, and as the club’s record signing, he’d likely get the nod if it came down to a straight choice between the pair.
In that case, Lacazette would likely have to settle for starts in the cup competitions, barring an injury or loss of form for his fellow striker.
Would he be happy with that? It’s a situation Emery would have to manage carefully.
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