Arsenal fans have been dreaming of a partnership between Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette for next season, but they might not get their wish.
Injuries and ineligibility stopped the club’s most expensive signings from combining on more occasions during the second half of the campaign.
Lacazette was named on the bench in Aubameyang’s first two appearances for the club following his move from Borussia Dortmund in the January transfer window, while the latter couldn’t play in the Europa League after Christmas due to a UEFA ruling.
However, when the pair were on the pitch together they usually made an impact.
The Gabon international teed up the Frenchman for goals against Newcastle United as well as West Ham United and also passed up the opportunity to complete a hat-trick in the win over Stoke City by letting Lacazette take a penalty.
New head coach Unai Emery will have the luxury of two impressive centre-forwards to call upon next season, but judging by his comments about his preferred system it doesn’t seem likely that the duo will be playing alongside each other right up top.
“Those are my two outlooks from a defensive point of view,” Emery revealed in an interview with Marti Perarnau, the author of ‘Pep Confidential’ and ‘Pep Guardiola: The Evolution’, as translated by Get French Football News. “If the ball is in play, you press. If play stops, you reposition yourself.”
“For me, the 4-1-4-1 is the system which facilitates that type of pressing. The 4-4-2 is designed more and more for zonal positioning. It’s less aggressive but is more difficult to get past. That’s the case with Marcelino’s teams, Quique Sanchez Flores’ teams, Saint-Étienne when we last played them…
“I am not ruling out the possibility of a 4-4-2. That’s not the idea that I privilege, but if it allows me to be more competitive, then I’ll go towards it without hesitating. We sometimes used it in Sevilla. I would put Banega in a playmaker position, and have him move to the second striker position without the ball.
“With two strong, physical players behind him, it provided me with the necessary cohesion to press.