Regardless of the debate surrounding Unai Emery’s 2019/2020 Arsenal side, the area of the team that has found its true depth of effervescence is, without doubt, the attacking section. While the Gunners boss’ series of tactical systems may not have developed the desired identity to assist in enabling the team to thrive from a truly attacking unit, Arsenal’s final third department have given a strong indication of the potential clinical prowess the present squad could stand to achieve with the right chemistry, despite being only two months into the new season.
In any case, like it has been witnessed within most top quality multidimensional attacking front lines around the world, one or two names tend to stand out as a class above the rest and in the case of Arsenal’s 2019/2020 attacking collection, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has established himself as the new marksman in London Colney, setting a rapid tone akin to his pacy style of play.
Having raced to a staggering 49 goals in his 64 appearances so far at the club, the Gabonese striker literally played the highest role in ensuring Arsenal went into the International break occupying the third spot in the Premier League table. Impressively, on a large scale of dynamic development with the use of a 3-man attack, the ex-Dortmund clinic expert has evidently showcased a lethal sense of responsibility bestowed upon himself when deployed alongside two forwards.
Unsurprisingly, Aubameyang’s top talismanic campaign so far mirrors that of Robin Van Persie’s fantastic season in the 2011/2012 campaign, who also benefited from a 3-man attack that included the likes of Gervinho and Theo Walcott for most parts of the season.
Hence, similarities with the current campaign isn’t an overstatement considering the influx of attackers that have joined Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (and Alexandre Lacazette) to form a three-pronged front three, stemming from a fairly equal combination of recent investment in the transfer market as well as the utilization of the exciting bar of the Arsenal Academy. Simply put, the elating double purchases of Nicolas Pepe and Gabriel Martinelli have been brilliantly matched by the double elevation of Academy products, Reiss Nelson and Bukayo Saka, with three of the aforementioned quarter still in their teenage years.
Thanks to those two extremes of quality enhancement projections upfront, Arsenal’s talisman, while leading from the front is supported by a pacy set of versatile forwards in this Arsenal side, with most of his attacking counterparts quite adept at switching roles out wide and through the middle, enabling the two sets of realistic forward trios seemingly confident enough to stake a strong claim in a prospectively fluid front three. In essence, making a case for the teenage first-team dream might turn out to establish a lasting front three reality, a lot quicker than expected.
However, while it is widely perceived that when all options are available Arsenal’s front three is poised to include Nicolas Pepe, Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre Emerick Aubameyang, it is equally worth noting that the trio of Reiss Nelson, Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli have demonstrated with the handful of opportunities handed to them so far that they are not settling to play second fiddle to their more established teammates, which seems increasingly laudable due to the fact that the latter two weren’t even expected to be part of the starting XI conversation, largely as a result of the expected bond that was thought would strongly resonate around the trio of ex-Ligue 1 forwards at the club.
Apparently, unlike the competition and level of attacking quality that was built around Arsenal’s last 30-goal a season centre forward (Robin Van Persie), it is quite clear that Aubameyang doesn’t need to enjoy monopoly at centre forward to hit 30 goals in all competitions. This is one of the facts that tend to get overlooked or downplayed and could prove to be a weapon to highlight how lucky the club is to have this current crop of attacking talent.
To put into context, rather than having Marouane Chamakh and Park Chu-Young as the alternatives to RVP up front, Arsenal’s contingency plan whenever Aubameyang isn’t occupying a centre-forward role rests on Alexandre Lacazette and Gabriel Martinelli. A huge upgrade on what was built around the Dutch striker in his last season at the club.
Essentially, considering the fact that Arsenal is impressively well covered in the centre-forward and wide attacking areas by daring and enthusiastic young attackers, Saka and Martinelli might have just ensured that Emery will have to go with 3 up top in the majority of games. A huge difference and upgrade from any past 1st and 2nd choice Arsenal front three in the last decade.
Interestingly the comparison doesn’t end on the pitch because, while Van Persie was busy banging in the goals, a huge cloud of uncertainty surrounded his future a the club and stories of contract negotiations lasted throughout the season right into the end of the 2012 summer transfer window. With Aubameyang also currently faced with an identical scenario, de javu seems to have reared its ugly head again and the newfound trust in the custodians of the club will be heavily relied upon as the Arsenal faithful hope to come out of the other end of the transfer negotiations with a smile on the face.
On that note here’s hoping a top-four finish would be enough to convince the Gabonese to commit his future to the club; an achievement that was deemed insufficient (to remain at the club) by Arsenal’s last PFA Player of the Year and Premier League top scorer.
Written by @KingHenryTheFif. Interact with us in the comments section or on Twitter @canoncrested