Ever since Robin Van Persie’s controversial departure to bitter rivals Manchester United, Arsenal have been lamented for not having an out and out goal scorer in their squad. Oliver Giroud gave his best for Arsenal, and for all of the Frenchman’s impressive traits as a target man, he was never going to score 25-30 goals a season on a consistent basis. This season, however, Arsenal has two high quality, proven goal scorers in their ranks; Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and it is high time that the Gunners utilised this immense firepower week in, week out.
After glimpses of a potentially blossoming strike partnership emerged throughout preseason, new Arsenal head coach Unai Emery decided to stick with just Aubameyang as the lone striker for the first three games of the season, whilst Lacazette was left to warm the bench. One could surmise that in the first two games against Manchester City and Chelsea, Emery wanted more numbers in midfield in order to combat the two heavily possession-based opponents, which meant sacrificing one of the two strikers. Yet the 3-2 victory against Cardiff highlighted exactly why both strikers need to start alongside each other.
Emery decided to give Lacazette his first start of the season against Cardiff, and he proved to his manager exactly why he should be in the team with a man of the match display. He led the line brilliantly and looked to be a constant threat to the opposition. Not only did he consistently hold the ball up in the final third to retain possession, but his link-up play with Arsenal’s support runners allowed for some much more threatening attacking play. This was perfectly exemplified by Arsenal’s second goal, where Lacazette cleverly flicked Özil’s pass into the path of Aubameyang, who executed his curled finish with aplomb and opened his account for the season. Lacazette then rounded up his superb performance with the match winner – a powerful near-post finish that flashed past the hapless Neil Etheridge.
Indeed, the statistics highlight just how clinical the pair are together. Since Aubameyang signed for Arsenal in January, the two have shared only 471 minutes on the pitch together, yet in that time they have notched up 11 goals and 5 assists between them. What’s more, Arsenal’s win percentage with Alexandre Lacazette in the side is 59.3%, compared to a measly 33.3% without him.
Perhaps what is fuelling this blossoming strike partnership is the friendship that has formed off the pitch between the two. On both players’ social media, the two are constantly seen laughing and joking around together – something fans love to see. This chemistry off the pitch can only help the two players thrive together on it, and if Arsenal’s defensive frailties continue to be exposed, they will need their two-star strikers to perform to the best of their abilities to provide the much-needed antidote.