The Arsenal conundrum – Lacazette or Aubameyang up front next season?

Who should start for Arsenal up front next season ? by Yash

A question that would have been laughed at last summer, but is a rational one this summer is: Should Arsenal consider selling Pierre Emerick Aubameyang instead of Alexander Lacazette?

The captain of the Gabon national team has had an underwhelming 12 months. After finishing as the top scorer for Arsenal in the 2018/19 and 2019/20 Premier league campaign, Aubameyang was not even the top scorer at the Emirates Stadium last season.

While the pre-season results hardly matter, the 31-year-old’s “blip” has been upgraded into something more worrying among Arsenal supporters. Even the most optimistic fans would be sweating over wondering whether their captain will be able to showcase his spark ever again at Arsenal?

On the other end of the spectrum, Lacazette had an impressive 2020/21 campaign, where he scored 17 goals and assisted three in 43 appearances. The Frenchman has also looked sharper than his best mate in the pre-season.

In terms of contractual situation, it is Lacazette who is most likely to leave the club, as the former Lyon man has one year left on his current deal. Whereas Aubameyang penned fresh terms last year to a lucrative new three-year deal.

But that doesn’t mean that things cannot take a unique, unexpected turn. Despite Aubameyang being shifted to the center forward position in the second half of the last campaign, it was Lacazette who suited to what Mikel Arteta was trying to ask from his center forward.

Pressing from the front, dropping back, holding up the ball, linking up the play and even defensive duties were the qualities where the Frenchman has always had an upper hand against Aubameyang.

The stats completely back it. Lacazette’s figures of Passes into Final Third / Through Balls / Tackles Won/ Successful Pressures % / Fouls Drawn were all at an impressive 1.12/0.19/0.89/32.5%/3.18 and were better than Aubameyang’s 19/20 (when he was an unstoppable force) figures of 0.77/0.03/0.69/22.7%/0.66.

I, for one, am not someone who is manifesting that Lacazette is better than Aubameyang. Although the former Dortmund man is a more lethal finisher, it is Lacazette who improves the rest of the squad players, especially Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka, who thrive when they have a target that bounces back the ball, to play cute little passes at the center of the pitch.

Arsenal’s goal against West Bromwich Albion in January was the best example.

These are the plays that the opposition dread, and the Gunners faithful only get to see it when Lacazette leads the line.

……..

But the Aubameyang OR Lacazette conundrum is a problem that Arsenal should never have encountered. The North London outfit broke their transfer record two times in less than 6 months on two players who clearly don’t fit well together.

If the club had researched properly, they certainly would have unearthed the current problem much earlier and could have averted it.

So, should Arsenal extend the contract of Lacazette and sell Aubameyang instead? I think that’s only for a heavenly creature to decide…

Yash Bisht

31 Comments

  1. gotanidea says:

    How could we sell Aubameyang

    1. Sylva says:

      A very big question. His wages will easily put anyone off and he is 32yrs. At that age he is no Messi or Ronaldo. Personally I will prefer Lacazette against Brendford.

      1. gotanidea says:

        Me too, because Lacazette is our most consistent CF and he’s even more consistent than Danny Ings in the last four seasons

      2. Micheal says:

        Reasonably, Lacazette is in a better form

  2. GunneRay says:

    Auba has lost his rhythm since his illness, but he wasn’t exactly on fire before that. Not sure what is going on. Maybe it’s something else? Confidence? Every striker fears these moments when you just can’t score for love nor money. He needs more time to find his rhythm again in my opinion. Keep playing him and I’m sure it will return. Laca for me has been good but, he still misses some very good chances. He’s inconsistent. Add to that his contract situation and that worries me a little. I would cash in now. I know he won’t but MA should now be giving Martinelli more games. No need for another striker, just a really good creative midfielder to improve our attack. With Saka and ESR in the squad we are already better in that department!

    1. Sue says:

      Agree about Auba 👍👍

  3. Prince says:

    SELL AUBAMEYANG, HE LACKS EVERYTHING THE TEAM NEEDS GOING FORWARD.

  4. DaJuhi says:

    Based on form: Lacazette
    Based on performance last season: Lacazette
    Based on financial reasons: Aubameyang

    So if we don’t sell Laca now, we will lose him for free. That is 10-20 millions in fees.

    I would rather extend Laca’s contract than play Auba. However, we can’t sell Auba, so he’ll stick with us for few more seasons.

    So I think it’s not rather what is right but rather what is smart.

  5. Ben says:

    Auba is like Willian really. It’s not that they don’t care… they just have less drive than they did. Auba doesn’t apply himself like he used to. People make excuses for him and blame it on lack of service and that he’s never been good linking play in the build up….
    Although that’s never been his strength – he was much better at it before his new contract. Against Chelsea and Spurs in those “friendlies”, Auba was woeful. Everytime a move relied on him to make a simple move and pass, pass and move, intentional lay-off… they all fell apart because he was so lackadaisical about them.

    In the run up to his extension, he would fight fullbacks on the wing for the ball. Run at them with it. Be available for lay offs.

    The way I read it is that he, like Willian, got his big pay day and now probably doesn’t see the point in busting a gut given it won’t actually result in silverware given there are too many other holes in the team.

    As for Laca. He still has that drive – he still needs his big last contract. His issue is he doesn’t have the legs to both build up play and charge into the area to score more (the Athletic did a nice piece of how and where he takes shots). Ultimately, neither striker is the striker Arsenal need and when played together in a front 3, Arteta still can’t make them work because he is overly prescriptive on what other chores he requires them to do.

    I can see why Arteta really wants Lautaro. Problem is they’ll never get him.

    As for Maddison… the only reason you go big for a player like him is if you want to get more out of Auba. Maddison is what Auba needs

  6. Declan says:

    Neither of them, play Balogun against Brentford.

    1. Highbury44 says:

      Agree.Try something new.You can see at Arsenal players only put a shift in when they are looking for a new contract.Don’t give Lacazette a new contract get rid otherwise you’ll have another PEA/OZIL situation.

  7. Kay says:

    I’ve always been of the opinion that Laca is a more complete footballer or striker than Auba and extending his contract was a grave mistake. However, if offers come for both, it is best for Arsenal to move them on for younger and hungrier attackers. Nketia has been showing signs of wanting more but not there yet while Balogun is not ready yet.

  8. Joe Allysons says:

    I’d say start Auba on the bench. In the spurs game, I noticed something.

    For the first time in more than a year, I noticed him actually attempt to dribble, attempt to win tackles, attempt to fight.
    It just felt like his lower than usual standards had now become his standard and he’s now struggling to get back to the top. The best option in my view, take the captaincy away and start him from the bench in the first few games. Hopefully, he starts banging in a few goals as an impact sub, and maybe five or ten games into the season, he can begin starting again.

    1. VasC says:

      I’m 100% with your idea of relieving Auba from the captain’s duties. Too much responsibilities for a laid-back guy (not questioning his work ethics on the pitch) like Auba. Time for Tierney to step up and take that arm-band, as he’s a certain starter for at least the next five years.

      Starting Auba from the bench is the best way moving forward. Especially, if the club is seriously planning for the future. Saka, Pepe and Martinelli can fight for the two places available for wingers in the starting line-up.

    2. M says:

      Agreed. Just to add …Laca & Auba shouldn’t start together either. One thing Auba lost from his best season is helping the defence. So he shouldn’t play on the wing.
      Laca start… Auba subd @ CF

  9. David Braithwaite says:

    Unfortunately, I can’t see either of them being the solution. Arsenal need a new striker.
    Aubameyang has one way of playing which is based on his speed and finishing. When it works he can be devastating. When it doesn’t work the lack of an all round game becomes very obvious. He has been tried in different positions but it hasn’t worked.
    Lacazette has a better all round game but does not excel at any aspect of being a striker. So, he has always been below elite level. He could become more effective if the team became more creative but he is unlikely to be a long term solution.
    There are many fans on here who believe that Arteta is underperforming. This suggests that Arsenal should be doing much better with the current squad. I would be interested to know if anyone could make a case for either of these strikers improving any of the teams that finished in the top four last season.

    1. VasC says:

      Since, it’ll be impossible to know for certain what might happen in reality based on our speculations, i’ll agree to take up your challenge, just based on numbers.

      On paper, wouldn’t Chelsea have improved upon their 4th place in the league table, had their top scored in the league been Laca with 13 goals or Auba with 10 goals than the actual Jorginho with 7 goals last season?

      Chelsea drew 9 games last season. With Auba’s 3 more goals than their top scorer, thats 6 more points on the table. Or 12 more points, if Laca’s extra 6 goals is taken into account. With an extra 6 points, Chelsea would have finished 3rd or 2nd with that 12 extra points. That’s a real improvement on their 4th placed finish, if Laca or Auba were in their squad.

      It’s just a speculation. May not happen in real life. But, 100% possible, at least on paper.

      So, would you really believe that Arteta is underperforming, now?

  10. Mark says:

    Lacca every time. He works the spine up and down and brings others into the game. PEA if not scoring is more a passenger and costs more in wages. Extend Lacca!

  11. gunnerforlife says:

    Laca any time of the day. A hard working CF, plays for the team, fights for the ball has got good link up play and hold up play. Auba can come off the bench in the initial games as an impact sub and if he improves and improvises in his scoring and general play, he can start games. However, I dont see the hunger and want in Aubas game as compared to Laca. I think Laca plays more for the shirt. Anyway Brenford is just round the corner, Arsenal must get themselves ready and rearing to go.

  12. Pål says:

    I would like to see Arteta give Folarin Balogun a chance to see if he can become regular starter soon. I have noticed that Arteta pays a lot of attention to what a player shows in training, but some players first step up fully when they have to against better opponents when that is needed.

    Another player I think could step up soon is Miguel Azeez, and I wonder if he could become a striker since he has shown to have a very good shot. It takes maximum 3 months for a player to prone his muscles to endure what more senior players do with the right training. So when age 19 and normally no longer growing in height, young players can step up their training to get the strength and stamina to play not just once a week, but twice a week a full match. Yes, football players can easily be trained so well they can play two matches per week without feeling the effect of one match to the other. That training is missing in most football clubs.

  13. Cliff says:

    It boils down to the manager.Arteta has never figured out how to select a balanced starting 11.
    Laca is a C.F who can hold up play therefore he can do well in a 4,4,2 system which we never use.
    Aubas strength is his pace&finishing, he can play C.F or as a winger.Give Auba a cesc or carzola behind him&see how u will unlock the potential in him.
    The main reason why our forwards have become impotent is because of Artetas team selection,his tactics,his format of play and lack of a creative dinamo in our attacking mid.
    Unless this changes it doesn’t matter who plays C.F.

  14. JanV says:

    Between Auba and Laca, I think Laca brings more even when he doesn’t score. He fights harder is better at holding the ball and involves youngsters.

    Auba is not good enough in the center and the way we play doesn’t help him in the center and out wide on the left he blocks Martineli from breaking through.

  15. Val says:

    Laca should start 100% Auba bench or at home

    Laca offers more, alot more than auba does

  16. Davi says:

    We’re playing that game again – trying to sell Laca because we can and keep Auba because we can’t, even though it’s clear which of the two needs to be moved on.

  17. Laurie says:

    How many goals did they score between them last season? bench or sell both, give their places to youngsters they can’t do much worse

    1. VasC says:

      PL ONLY.
      23 goals between them, Laca – 13 & Auba – 10. That’s 43% of the goals scored by our entire team last season, 53. And with 2 own goals, our goal tally is 55 last season.

      All competitions
      Laca – 17 and Auba – 15. That’s 32 goals scored between them last seasons.

  18. Voyageur says:

    On Friday if we start with Aubamayang/Lacazette upfront along with a Xhaka/Elneny pivot there will be some seriously depressed Gooners.

    Present company included.

  19. RSH says:

    Neither should be starters but espescially with CF we dont have many options. Have nothing to lose tho is how i see it. Our forwards dont score goals. So give Martinelli or balogun runs as strikers. Laca does other things alright, but he simply doesn’t score frequently enough, and Auba just seems out of gas, but hoping he can still chip in with at least double digits and id’ say thats a fine season for him. Should not be a regular starter. Nor captain if we’re gonna be blunt.

  20. RW1 says:

    Right now having both in the squad is a luxury Arsenal can’t afford given that attacking options are a problem … nketiah is hopeless and balogun is an unknown … personally would try and offload aubemayang at a discount and ask wrighty .. who was clueless in his praise for this guy helping to boost his wage to an absurd level .. to fill the gap from his own pocket … he will be unsellable at end of this season unless he puts in north of 15 goals which is unlikely imo

  21. Atangana says:

    Is it wages we are fielding or a player that can deliver? Why keep givng Obameyang the opportunity when he has failed the club all of last year? bench him for Lacazette who has the better stats.

  22. Aaron says:

    Goodness gracious, if Arteta can’t see these two are not compliments than just terminate his contract today.

    Seriously…..

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