Fixing Arsenal’s striker situation must be Arteta’s top priority right now

URGENT: Arsenal’s striker situation needs to be fixed RIGHT NOW by Mohammed Rafi

Some worrying observations may have made in the reality check we got at Anfield over the weekend. The absence of a physically imposing and press resistant central midfielder to play alongside Thomas Partey (who himself did not turn up), seems to be another profile added to the bucket list going into next summer’s transfer window. It is unfair to expect Albert Sambi Lokonga to be exposed to such intensity every week in very first season in English football at his age. That being said, I do believe he has the potential to develop into one of the best midfielders in the league if given the right environment to grow.

The most worrying observation of them all, was the apparent lack of a striker who can be a threat even when not posing any goal threat. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had one of his worst nights in an Arsenal shirt. While he did not score or even get on the end of many decent chances due to the lack of creativity, he was simply absent when he was required to hold up the ball and bring other forwards into the game. Games like Liverpool at Anfield are when such qualities of your striker must shine through. When you are unable to impose yourself as a team, you would expect your striker to be efficient in transition and create a moment of magic to see the wide players through on goal. Instead Aubameyang could only manage to complete an appalling 19 touches over the whole 90 minutes, did not complete or even attempt any dribbles, and only could only complete 6 of his 11 attempted passes. The intense high press from Liverpool would force us to go long instead of building from the back, and the importance of having a striker who can stand his ground, receive passes, and find outlets cannot be stressed enough.

LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 18: Alexandre Lacazette of Arsenal looks on during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Newcastle United at Emirates Stadium on January (Photo by Adam Davy – Pool/Getty Images)

Alex Lacazette on the other hand, is a hard working, intelligent link-up player, who had a decent first half in the “creative striker” role but also happened to fade away in the later stages. The Frenchman’s limitation is that although he is an excellent player to drop deep and support the midfield, he simply does not pose the goal threat that a striker is supposed to. He is often too deep and does not find himself inside the box when the ball is played in from wide areas and is also incapable of running in behind the defensive line due to his lack of pace and instinctive movement. He also does not possess the creative volume of passing or crossing ability of a playmaker to play as a pure number 10 behind the striker. Such a conundrum may not be an evident issue against lesser opponents, but Anfield under the spotlight is arguably as difficult as it gets in the Premier League.

What is the solution? Arsenal need to address this situation next summer as Mikel Arteta saying that any contract negotiations will be done at the end of the season means that Lacazette, who is in the last year of his contract, is likely to leave at the end of the season. Aubameyang, who signed a 3-year deal last summer will likely stay. In my opinion, our second striker target should be more complete, physically imposing, pose an aerial threat and gifted with pace. Alexander Isak of real Sociedad and Dusan Vlahovic of Fiorentina are the names that have been linked to Arsenal, along with Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

This is not a reactionary opinion based on one game against Liverpool (as any opinion should be) and is a situation that has given us something to think about for a while now. I sincerely hope we can be proactive and manage it by finding a quality long-term solution.



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Tags Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang


  1. It’s a tactical issue 100%….sacrificed attack for defence, no balance in the way we play.

    People can boast all they want about an improved defence but we’ve robbed Peter to pay Paul.

    1. I agree with you! It’s about the way we play not the personal.. Why were Laca and auba firing for emery and auba for Wenger before? It’s about the setup not the personal.. Players don’t turn into duds overnight

      1. you cannot blame the defense for the midfield and strikers ! The whole team were poor a team wins together and loses together ! but i think our young players have taken something from these sort of high pressure high speed top flight games even if they lost ! We were not expected to beat Liverpool or City Or Chelsea so it was no shock and no shock that it was one of our players that came in this summer that had a howler against Liverpool. Yes he cost us two goals yes he was the weak link yes he went hammer and tong into every pass tackle etc but what he needed was for someone to tell him simply calm down he was rushing everything. But over all the better and dirty team won !!

    2. all this its over doomsday talk !! please! Its one game a game we are not expected to win our young team has been together 6 years like Liverpool and at Anfield. Players that have never played in such a high octaine game. Mistakes were going to be made ! but that is part and parcel of building something ROME wasn’t built in a day. Nor was Liverpool under Klopp. TIME is the word needed and it is what Klopp was given as so should Arteta. Its how they reply to this defeat now !! not how where when or why we lost !! its all about the next game ! lets get behind them and the manager !!

    3. You are wrong in your assertion that we sacrificed attack for defence.We played four attacking players at the expense of an extra midfielder which was needed to match up the Liverpool 4-3-3 set up.Little wonder that Partey and Lokonga were overrun.Because we did not control the midfield area, we were unable to create any clear cut chances.That said, it is clearly evident that Auba and Lacca are no longer good enough to take us to the next level, and younger, more dynamic central strikers are needed.

  2. Since Aubameyang would likely stay for another season, Arsenal had better look for someone who can complement him

    1. I think Calvert-Lewin is very good option…
      Decent finisher… Young and good physicality..
      Physical presence in box..
      And can cause Opponent CBs problems with his physical presence unlike Aubameyang

    2. No, bite the bullet and sit him. Laca is a fine striker who has to play deep right now because Auba is in the team. Put Odo in in lieu of Auba and move Laca up.

  3. We have needed a striker to replace Laca for now coming on 3 yrs ! It is no secret that he isnt the striker we need! He has no pace and he just doesnt make runs at all. Needs 6 chances to score one !! No good enough !! Auba shocked me against liverpool he did close down from the front he wasnt making runs etc !! But for me its all about getting rid off Laca whilst we can still get some money for him and bring in a real striker ! Break the Bank if need be !! Goals win games ! and having a real threat upfront means big teams will not push on !! but whilst we have a cart horse in Laca teams will always say lets push on. BREAK THE BANK FOR A STRIKER and attacking mid !!

  4. I have a question

    If we beat Newcastle which we should, does it mean that we have learnt from the Liverpool game?

  5. Our midfield was outnumbered against Liverpool, and it really showed in the second half. Struggled against the press, created virtually nothing for the strikers, and any chance of pressing was DOA.

    It’s not just having young, inexperienced players, but using the same tactics that continue to fail.

    No plan B, unable to counter Klopp’s halftime adjustments, and like for like subs basically.

  6. It was our midfield n forward let us down. They just not good enough to create chances and space against good team. That’s all. Look how Liverpool midfield n forward create chances n find space against us.

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