Allezkev, our favourite red and white taxi-driver on the blog, asked:
Total a question – and for anyone as it goes, if Arsenal do sell Alex Lacazette do you think that Arteta will replace him or will he go with Nketiah and Martinelli when he’s fit, bearing in mind that Aubameyang will switch ‘on paper’ to centreforward?
I love Laca’s spirit and work-rate and for that reason alone I would be sad to see him go, but his departure would open opportunities for others. Eddie and Martinelli are both hard workers, who ‘get in there’, bully, and are a similar threat in front of goal as Alex L. The great thing about these youngsters is that they are already taking their chances, and with a bit more confidence they will hopefully grow further in the coming season.
Lacazette has been a bit of a disappointment for the bread and butter stuff: goals and assists. In his last season for Lyon he scored an impressive 37 goals in 45 matches in all competitions; in his three seasons at Arsenal, Alex managed to score an average of 16 goals per seasons from an average 42 games, with only 12 in his last season. For a CF that is not a great return. Martinelli has 10 goals in 26 appearances; Eddie has 9 goals in 36 appearances for Leeds and Arsenal.
So letting Laca go and having Eddie and Martinelli compete for the ‘CF-nuisance and regular goals and assists role’ would work for me. However, I don’t think moving Auba central would help us a lot. He seems to prefer staying on the left and nobody can argue he is not effective from there.
The problem is that we have become far too dependent on Auba’s goals. We need to spread the goals more. Marti and Eddie are likely to grow but they will have to get in the region of 15-20 goals in all competition for Arsenal to make real progress. Can they do it? Not sure.
As per previous post, I am hoping for an attack of Auba-Pepe-Willian. The Brazilian can either play behind them in the hole or play a more disciplined right-winger role. Saka, Martinelli, Nketiah, Nelson can then compete with them and play a lot in the cup games. Freeing up Pepe, and with that the ability to fire up his super-lethal left foot, could really add to the total goals this team is capable of. Willian servicing them both whilst taking his own chances would be the icing on the cake.
The one big thing that we need to improve is turning the great aerial crosses of Tierney, Saka, Pepe and sometimes also Bellerin into headed goals. Auba and Laca are not strong headers of the ball and many a cross goes waisted. Pepe, Marti and Eddie offer improvement in that respect but will it be enough?
I still feel we are missing (a) Giroud on the bench, and if Laca were to go, I would be tempted to get an experienced PL attacker who will be given an (unexpected) opportunity to finish their career on a high (a bit like Arteta got when he joined Arsenal from Everton).
So ideal scenario for me is:
- Auba signs, Laca moves on;
- Pepe starts centrally, flanked by Auba and Willian (subject to him joining us at last);
- Eddie and Marti get to play centrally too, but mostly in the cup games and as PL subs;
- We get an experienced PL attacker who is strong in the air and can do hold-up/link-up play with their back to the goal – mainly used as a ‘Plan-B on the bench’.
Looking forward to the views of our fellow BKers (and anybody out there who wants to join in constructively).