The arrival of £56m-rated star striker Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang has sent shockwaves around London. Not only has his arrival forced two Arsenal centurions (Olivier Giroud & Theo Walcott) out of the club, it’s relegated the club’s previous record signing to the bench.
Arsenal Twitter was set ablaze on Saturday evening when it was announced that there’d be no space for Alexandre Lacazette in the starting XI against Everton. Instead, Arsene Wenger went with a front three of Alex Iwobi, Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang & Henrikh Mkhitaryan, with Mesut Özil in support behind them. The scintillating football the forwards displayed in the first 45 minutes suggest that Arsene Wenger made the right choice. But Arsenal legend, Thierry Henry, believes that Alexandre Lacazette & Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang can and should start together. Is he right?
In all fairness to Arsene Wenger, Alexandre Lacazette hasn’t hit the soaring heights in England that he did in France. Last season, the 26-year-old scored 37 goals in 45 appearances, this season, he’s only scored 9 in 27 appearances. Despite that, Thierry Henry believes the ex-Lyon man still has a part to play in the line-up.
He told Sky Sports “in my day we played a rigid, flat 4-4-2 and that was it, I don’t think Arsene will go back to that but why not?”
When Henry was at his best, he had a striking partner in Dennis Bergkamp. The duo displayed perfect chemistry as when one made runs in behind, the other dropped back to occupy the space in front of the centre-backs. Could Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette execute such chemistry? That remains to be seen.
However, regardless of the Frenchman’s form this season, there are excuses that come to his aid. First of all, he hasn’t had the luxury of playing in a starting XI that has both Henrikh Mkhitaryan AND Mesut Özil, two players that are a striker’s dream. Secondly, he’s played the majority of his season with a ball-hogging Alexis Sanchez on the left. The Chilean demands the spotlight and always moves in centrally, not allowing Lacazette to make the runs he usually thrives on. So, let’s remember these factors before making judgements.
On the other hand, perhaps Arsene Wenger hasn’t lost faith in Alexandre Lacazette. Perhaps he’s just resting the Frenchman in anticipation of the knockout stage of the Europa League. With Olivier Giroud out the front door, Lacazette is now Arsenal’s only legitimate striker for European games, meaning the boss has to be extra careful with him.
One game on the bench does not mean we as a fanbase should panic, instead, we should be happy that we now have TWO quality strikers at the club. And based on the 5-1 thrashing of Big Sam’s Everton, our current attacking line-up is finely poised as it is.