When Arteta took over the reigns at Arsenal, it would seem everyone already knew what he had to do. From pundits to former players and even the fans, it’s no mystery that Arteta would have to sort the defence problem – which once again was evident against Bournemouth.
The Spaniard himself has identified a number of Arsenal problems he wants to face squarely, including fixing the fracture between the team and the fans. One extra worry Arteta might potentially have on his hands is that of his attacking trio. On paper, Arsenal easily have one of the best forward lines in the League but even that bragging point seems to be faltering of late.
Asides the 3-1 victory against West Ham some weeks ago, Arsenal have scored only one goal in their last three Premier League outings (Whoscored).
One player that has been a culprit in that regard is Alexandre Lacazette.
The Lacazette question
The above thought leads to the question – what is Arsenal’s best attacking trio? Frustratingly, this question has more than one answer as the Gunners have an incredibly unbalanced yet impressive frontline.
Having two strikers that complimented each other so well last season joined by another pair of exciting forwards in the summer, finding the best fit has been an ongoing dilemma. Freddie Ljungberg seemed to have found the perfect balance playing Gabriel Martinelli, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Nicolas Pepe together at West Ham, but that trio hasn’t lasted.
Reiss Nelson has since replaced Nicolas Pepe and Gabriel Martinelli picked up a knock at Everton. This allowed Alexandre Lacazette to come back into the side but yet again, Arsenal struggled to fully get moving with the Frenchman in the side.
Although he offers unique skills in holding up the ball and linking others into play in and around the box, this didn’t help the Gunners much at Bournemouth. He was a passing option for Mesut Ozil but once the ball reached him, the Cherries defenders quickly crowded him out.
When the ball was played up to his to run in behind, he wasn’t quick enough to beat his man and get a shot off either.
More worrying was the fact that he missed a glorious chance against Bournemouth that should have sealed the game for the Gunners.
The 28-year-old has undoubted talent but hasn’t looked himself for much of this season. Picking up an ankle injury in the Emirates Cup against Lyon which was aggravated against Tottenham in September, Lacazette hasn’t looked as sharp as he did in his first two seasons at the club.
With Aubameyang drifting in off the left, however, Arteta may aim to get the pair closer to each other to replicate the form they showed so often last season. If not, when Martinelli is fit again, Lacazette might have to make way for the young Brazilian yet again.
It would be harsh to simply ask for Lacazette to be dropped but the reality is that he is not doing enough to be a starter and Martinelli deserves the nod over him as it stands. It’s going to be a tough decision for Arteta – having to choose experience over youth, hunger and passion.
In actual truth, both of those factors should be neglected but a starter should simply be picked based on what he offers to the team and his usefulness to the team.
Based on that, Martinelli, Leno and Aubameyang have been the only decent bright spots on the Arsenal lineup for a while now and except Lacazette ups his game soon, he could see himself as a second fiddle option.