Let’s be honest, trying to fit Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang into the same side is like trying to fit square pegs in round holes.
It simply won’t work, and Mikel Arteta is under some pressure to get that specific issue right ahead of the return of Premier League football in two weeks time.
The two men couldn’t be more different if they tried. Whilst the Gabon international is a lethal finisher in front of goal, the Frenchman couldn’t hit a barn door. Then again, the club captain isn’t the best at holding the ball up and bringing teammates into play, whilst the former Lyon man thrives in that area.
However, this time around, the problem is slightly different. Whilst the club do have a world-class finisher in Aubameyang, he has been shifted over to the left-wing to accommodate for Lacazette, whose all-round game is far stronger than his teammate.
Who should be the starting number nine?
Mikel Arteta even alluded to his qualities following last season’s 2-0 win over Manchester United, claiming Lacazette makes his teammates ‘better’.
There is a real emphasis on pressing opposition defences and claiming the ball back as soon as possible, and with Lacazette having committed the most fouls per game in the side, his hunger and desire to defend from the front is second to none.
Compare that to £45m-rated Aubameyang, who averages less than one foul per game, and you see why he has been shifted to the left. However, it has had a disastrous impact on the performances of the team in the final third.
Playing the £37.8m-rated former Ligue 1 striker in the number nine role means you lose some of that lethal finishing his club captain provides. Lacazette has missed easy chances in the last two home games against Leicester City and Aston Villa, chances which you would’ve thought his compatriot could finish.
In all honesty, you can’t blame Arteta for playing Lacazette as long as he has done this season, however, he has failed far too many times to be continuing upfront.
Aubameyang, being the world-class finisher he is, deserves to return to his natural habitat. It’s a move which will definitely see the Gunners improve in the final third and frees up space on the left-wing for actual wide-men like Nicolas Pepe, who have so far been warming the bench.
Arsenal fans, do you think Aubameyang should be the starting number nine? Let us know!