Arsenal manager Unai Emery has hinted that he doesn’t intend to play with a front two next season – which makes it seem unlikely that strikers Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette will be deployed together.
In a wide ranging interview with Spanish journalist Martí Perarnau – quoted by Football.London – Emery expressed his preference for a 4-1-4-1 system.
“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,” Emery said.
If Emery uses this system at the Emirates, it is difficult to see how two strikers could be deployed together – which likely means that only one of Aubameyang or Lacazette will feature in the manager’s first choice lineup.
This may prove controversial among Gunners fans, as the two strikers showed last season that they can be effectively deployed together. Aubameyang created goals for Lacazette against Newcastle United and West Ham United, as well as showing extraordinary selflessness when he let the Frenchman take a penalty against Stoke City – the Gabon international was one goal short of a hat-trick at the time.
Aubameyang’s arrival from Borussia Dortmund in January was one of very few positives from last season for the Gunners, as he netted ten goals in 13 Premier League appearances.
If Emery drops one of the two strikers, it seems likelier to be Lacazette – the Frenchman scored just four more league goals than Aubameyang but made 31 Premier League appearances in Arsène Wenger’s final season at the Emirates.
However, Emery did also acknowledge that the 4-4-2 formation has its virtues. “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,” he insisted.