We have spent all season saying that it is unfair on Eddie Nketiah, Gabriel Martinelli and Folarin Balogun because they simply can’t get any chances in the Arsenal first team.
But, this week, with both Lacazette and Aubameyang not fully fit, Arteta had the perfect chance to use one of his other three Number Nines against Villarreal on Thursday, but instead opted to play without any centre-forward at all!
Admittedly Nketiah had got a chance in the game against Everton (without success) but how must Martinelli feel about being left out when he should be the next first choice hitman? Arteta has been saying since January that Martinelli has just been unlucky that the more senior players have kept him out of the starting line-up, but he can’t say that about Thursday night can he?
Yes the Brazilian finally came on in the second half when we were 2-0 down and had been reduced to 10-men, but I bet he wishes he had started the game.
It seems unlikely that Aubameyang will be available for Sunday or on Thursday as Arteta said yesterday: “He hasn’t trained much, he is still not at the level in his physique that he should be to start. We will see again tomorrow how he is. Yesterday he could only play a few minutes but we managed to get him on the pitch, which is great news for us.”
So, can anyone explain whether Arteta has no confidence in any strikers except the injured Aubameyang and Lacazette, or does he really believe that we can win the game without any recognised striker?
I am certainly confused…