Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored on his Arsenal debut on Saturday, and the Gunners put five past Everton without Alexandre Lacazette. Here’s why I think it’s too early to draw any conclusions.
Undoubtedly, Arsenal looked a changed team against the Toffees this weekend.
The passing was quick and incisive, and Aubameyang pushed the defence back and took his goal well. The team spread their creativity around the pitch, such that Mesut Özil didn’t need to assist any of the five goals.
I don’t think that was entirely based on switching Lacazette for Aubameyang though.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan made his first Arsenal start, and he was fantastic. The Armenian’s low crosses found Aaron Ramsey on two occasions, and his through ball was perfectly weighted for Aubameyang to run onto.
Meanwhile, Lacazette has often played in a front-three with Danny Welbeck and Alex Iwobi. Both players have their strengths, but they aren’t exactly masters of creativity.
Ramsey missed out on a month of football as well, with a hamstring injury. The midfielder assisted the Frenchman more than anyone else before the strain.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan to Aaron Ramsey: Is already Arsenal's second best assist-to-goalscorer combination in the Premier League this season, returning 2 goals
Only Aaron Ramsey to Alexandre Lacazette (3 goals) is better pic.twitter.com/HFl1yMJ2bd
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) February 3, 2018
The system we saw against Everton should suit Lacazette far more as well.
Mkhitaryan and Özil roamed around the pitch finding space and creating chances wherever they went. Ramsey provided extra attacking threat in the box, and Iwobi put a shift in to link things together.
That’s the sort of team the Frenchman could thrive in.
Big game player
Let’s not forget, Lacazette’s contributions in the big matches already this season. The striker scored against Manchester City and Manchester United, and assisted against Liverpool and Spurs.
He hasn’t contributed to the goals against Chelsea just yet, but his hold up play and deflected pass led to Granit Xhaka’s winner in the League Cup semi-final.
Aubameyang is an exciting, world-class striker, and he’ll rightly keep getting starts if he keeps scoring.
That doesn’t mean Lacazette is done though.
Even if the two don’t play together, there are plenty of matches to go around. Particularly in the Europa League, where the Gabon international is cup-tied.
Signing both strikers should help them to push each other on to become even better. Fans should see this as a positive step, as it was for City when they added Gabriel Jesus to Sergio Aguero.
At just 26 years old, there’s plenty more to come from Lacazette, and I think we’ll see that as the year goes on.