Arsenal To Play 4-3-3 With Aubameyang And Mkhitaryan?

With Aubameyang’s searing pace, there is a possibility that he will be used as a winger under Wenger, as part of a dangerous attacking three alongside Mkhitaryan and Lacazette. With Özil playing just behind them, goal scoring opportunities would be almost unlimited, and we’d certainly score a lot of goals. However, there is a good chance that his lethal finishing ability, demonstrated by 98 goals in 143 appearances for Borussia Dortmund, would be wasted by playing him in an unfamiliar position as a winger.

Lacazette has often appeared extremely frustrated this season, and has often had to drop deep in search of the ball, particularly when Özil hasn’t played. We’ve lacked creativity in Mesut’s absence and the recent saga regarding Sanchez’s departure, with Iwobi and Welbeck lacking the ability to provide Lacazette with regular goal scoring opportunities. By playing Aubameyang alongside Lacazette as part of a system with two upfront, Lacazette’s frustration should be eased by an equally lethal partner. Both strikers are very strong and very quick, and Aubameyang’s height provides us with the ability to float balls up to the strikers or cross balls in if we need to. With Mkhitaryan also easing Özil’s creative responsibilities, the four on the pitch at the same time will certainly be dangerous.

Arsenal tend to build up attacks centrally, and with our current lack of wide midfielders, this doesn’t look to be changing soon. Bellerin and Kolasinac have questionable crossing abilities, so we don’t necessarily need a wide formation in order to unleash Aubameyang and Lacazette. A more flexible 4-2-3-1 could be a solution, with Mkhitaryan, Özil and Aubameyang drifting from wide to central positions behind Lacazette, but playing the Gabonese finisher so wide merely limits the space for him to utilise his pace.

Lacazette and Aubameyang would both learn from each other, and they both have unquestionable finishing ability. They could very easily form one of the most feared striking partnerships in Europe. City have demonstrated the danger of Jesus and Aguero upfront a few times this season, and Lacazette has shown that he can’t lead the line quite as effectively as Kane or Aguero do on their own. With the lack of natural wingers, it doesn’t make sense to mirror Liverpool’s fluid three man attack, and I believe that Lacazette and Aubameyang could be reminiscent of Ian Wright and Anelka. Pure pace and devastating finishing ability would severely decrease the amount of times we are frustrated by defensive lower table teams and struggle to score goals.

Further, playing 4-3-3 would leave severe question marks of the defensive capabilities of the midfield. A 4-3-3 may not suit our star player, Mesut Özil. Playing Mkhitaryan, Lacazette and Aubameyang in a three man attack calls for the need of a solid midfield. We’d likely have to play Wilshere and Ramsey just ahead of Xhaka to compensate for the lack of defensive work rate of the three attackers, leaving no room for our best player.

Özil needs a license to float behind the attack to be at his most dangerous, and a 4-3-3 would increase his defensive responsibilities. One exciting possibility, in keeping with creating a strike partnership of Lacazette and Aubameyang, would be a narrow diamond 4-4-2, more like a 4-1-2-1-2. Wilshere has shown through numerous man of the match performances for England that he is capable of playing at the base of a midfield diamond.

Just in front, Xhaka and Ramsey or Mkhitaryan would provide a balanced central midfield partnership. Mkhitaryan’s technical qualities mirror those of Sati Cazorla, who has thrived in the middle for us with his elite dribbling and passing skills. This would enable us to play a world class attack of Mesut Özil floating and creating behind Lacazette and Aubameyang. Having one of Xhaka, Ramsey or Mkhiatryan on the bench can also only be a good thing for Arsenal. Our squad depth in comparison with fellow title contenders is worrying lacking, and by building the overall quality of our squad, Wenger will be able to switch formation and personnel if the game requires it.

Overall, Arsenal should pursue a Champions League spot with a formation headed by two strikers. The last time we had two world class strikers in our squad, and played them both, we won the title. Though Lacazette and Aubameyang aren’t quite yet of the calibre of Thierry Henry, it would be foolish not to use the quality at our disposal in their preferred positions.


Joel Medcraft is a final year student at Loughborough University, reading English Language and Literature. He is an aspiring lawyer and semi-professional rugby player, but ultimately an Arsenal lover.