Arsenal have broken their transfer record twice in the same season on two players who play in the same position whilst utilising a formation without two spaces in that position. So that begs the question, who’s the number 1 for that spot?
Here I’ll look at both the strikers and conclude my verdict:
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – he currently wears the famous number 14 previously worn by Arsenal legend Thierry Henry. Aubameyang resembles Henry in stature and his style of play but is a long way off Henry’s quality. Aubameyang is a tall, fast striker who makes runs in behind. He utilises his pace to get beyond opposition centre backs and relies on space in behind to create chances. Aubameyang is a typical poacher. He will always be in the right position, lurking in the box and getting on the end of crosses. Overall, Aubameyang is an out and out goal scoring machine. However, he comes with his inefficiencies. He possesses a poor first touch which can hinder him when he’s running through on goal with the ball at his feet. He also isn’t the best at joining in with the build up play, he can create opportunities for teammates but it isn’t his forte and he is often dispossessed doing so. Aubameyang’s strengths lie when he is on the shoulder running in behind and getting on the end of crosses.
Alexandre Lacazette – Arsenal’s new number 9 here to end the curse of that shirt. Lacazette’s arrival was met with vast amounts of optimism and excitement, especially after scoring in the first 4 minutes of his Premier League debut. Lacazette after starting well has recently hit a goal drought and now an injury. Clearly lacking confidence and carrying an injury at the same time questions began to be asked about him. But, Aubameyang’s struggle leading the line for Arsenal has proved that Lacazette’s ability shouldn’t be questioned and the striker needs more support to prevent isolation. Lacazette is an interesting striker. He has the ability to drop deep to pick up the ball, turn out and carry it or pass it on into the attack. Lacazette for his size is strong on the ball and holds the ball up well and can get involved in Arsenal’s one touch passing. He also has the ability to run in behind and linger on the shoulder of the last man. Lacazette is a composed finisher in front of goal and had the highest conversion rate in Europe’s top 5 leagues last season. In the box Lacazette’s strength, close touch and quick feet allow him to spin defenders and create a chance in a tight space in crowded boxes. Lacazette also has an impressive, instinctive movement which allows him to peel away from defenders to give himself space in tight areas and his movement is often intelligent and selfless, creating space for his teammates. Lacazette for me has one issue, when the ball is out wide he drops off to the edge of the box instead of making a run to the front or back post. If he managed to inherit this into his game he would have more goalscoring opportunities.
Overall, I believe Lacazette is the better player. He has the better touch, better link up play, better hold up play and is the better finisher. However, Aubameyang is a poacher and possesses better movement and positioning which will mean he gets more goal scoring chances. Despite this, I don’t believe it should be one or the other. Arsenal should go back to a 2 upfront. We haven’t seen this since a front line of Adebayor and Robin Van Persie lead the line. Aubameyang and Lacazette’s games suit each other down to a tee. Lacazette’s generous movement will free up space for Aubameyang to exploit and Aubameyang’s poacher instincts will free up space where Lacazette likes to drop off in wide areas. Where Aubameyang’s movement in behind is better, Lacazette’s link up and hold up play is better and we could see a flourishing partnership up top. In a 4-2-2-2 system Arsenal could be solid defensively and drop into a 4-4-2 when defending. This formation also opens up the ability to counter-attack more effectively. Arsenal are lucky enough to have two of the best strikers in Europe at one of the darkest times the club has faced in the past 20 years. Let’s utilise them to their strengths and get the best out of them together.
Who do you think is the better striker and would you be a fan of 2 up front?