You’ll often see players who will step up and thrive when the talisman is taken out of the team and they feel like they have more freedom, but Arsenal’s strike force is in such a strange place just now.
A lot has been said about the job that Mikel Arteta faces in terms of him trying to overhaul the squad, but at least it looked like they were well stocked in attack.
Aubameyang had proven last season that he could be the difference maker against the biggest teams, Lacazette is versatile and hard-working but he’s also a proven finisher so he’s an important player for them, while Nicolas Pepe was supposed to be the x-factor that would make the whole setup shine.
The problem is that you’ll rarely see a performance where all three look like they are clicking, and this stat shows how big the problem might be:
Auba, Laca, Pepe: The £175m strikeforce that just doesn't work for #AFC
??Auba's last 6 goals have come in games Laca has not started
??Laca's last 4 goals have come without Auba on the pitch
??Pepe's best performances have been when Auba is missinghttps://t.co/mLZqkQbEuP
— Sam Dean (@SamJDean) April 8, 2021
It’s so strange that they only seem to thrive when at least one of the others is missing, and you can’t build a successful team when you have a situation where certain players can’t really play in the same team.
The added problem comes with the money that was spent on them – the sell-on value of all three has been significantly reduced so it’s not like they can be sold and replaced, so it does leave Arteta with a big decision to make.
Ultimately he might need to decide which one is his main man going forward before selling the others and trying to build a unit around the chosen one, but it’s another example of where Arsenal’s approach in the transfer market has hurt them in the long run.