Pairing two strikers could be the solution that Arsenal’s been looking for

By Matt Brown
In Arsenal
Apr 17th, 2018

It’s been quite some time since Arsenal regularly started with 2 strikers on the field. In fact, we’d need to go back almost a decade, to a brief period when Arsène Wenger had rotated Eduardo Da Silva, Emmanuel Adebayor and Robin Van Persie in a front pairing. But if you pay attention to the hints dropped over the past few weeks, Wenger has been contemplating playing 2 genuine strikers once again!

Southampton match had glimpses of two-strikers strategy

Arsenal’s recent 3-2 win over struggling Southampton was a good example of this strategy. Although it wasn’t clear case of front two, Wenger had slightly adapted his preferred 4-2-3-1 strategy. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang began as the de facto striker, with Danny Welbeck apparently contributing from the left side of the field. However, once the game progressed, it became clear that both of them were functioning as a striking duo, often swapping positions and making combinations whenever needed.

The first goal scored by Arsenal was the best example of that combination coming into play. Please note, it’s not for the first time that Wenger has used this type of unconventional strategy. For the brief time period when Theo Walcott had spearheaded the Arsenal’s attack, Wenger had employed Alexis Sanchez as a supplementary striker from left-hand side in the same way.

This type of shift offers a more penetrative ability to the Arsenal team which can sometimes appear overloaded with playmakers instead of finishers. If not for anything else, it allows Gunners to get into the penalty box more often and provide more targets for the kinds of Jack Wilshire and Mesut Ozil from the deep.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s injury has left no choice!

There are a couple of major reasons why Wenger might go for this strategy once again. The foremost is Arsenal’s ongoing campaign in the Europa league. Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s injury has left no other option for the Arsenal boss, but to reconfigure their attack.

With Alexandre Lacazette becoming available again, fielding Welbeck with him is expected to reduce the former’s workload, as everyone knows Lacazette can sometimes get overwhelmed because of the physical aspect of football.

Welbeck has expressed his flexibility stating that he is comfortable playing alongside any of the Arsenal’s frontmen, whether it is Lacazette or Pierre. He feels that it gives him an added motivation and a certain amount of competition which makes him improve his game.

If Arsenal is serious about going all the way in Europe, they would need to depend heavily on the strength of their attacking players, rather than focusing on defending. Keeping that in mind, it makes a lot of sense to shift the team’s emphasis on the front-end of the field. If you recall, Aubameyang & Co. were tasked with replacing 60% of Arsenal’s goals.

It’s the right way forward

Furthermore, considering all these speculations happening around Wenger’s future, he’d obviously have one eye on the next season too. A lot of well-known betting sites have also started providing odds on the chances of him staying with the Gunners and have the offers to prove it. Dozens of UK bookies are offering major incentives to sign up and with Wenger continuing his ascension to the big leagues, now is as good a time as any to put your money where your heart is. Apparently, Wenger is treating the remaining Premier League games as a means to experiment and prepare for the 2018–19 season and as he experiments, placing the right bet can bring just that extra step closer to the action.

From how things look, Arsene Wenger might have to find out a way to include both Lacazette and Aubameyang in the same side fairly regularly. After all, a club like Arsenal just cannot afford to let £ 50 million worth of talent to stay seated on the bench!

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A Gooner since the dark days of the mid 80s. Still waiting for number 14.

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