Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta decided to start Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Nicolas Pepe together for the first time this season against Liverpool on Saturday.
When the Ivorian joined us almost two years ago, fans expected the trio to form one of the league’s deadliest strike-forces. Sadly, the three French-speaking attackers have barely played together for Arsenal.
That really is strange for people looking from the outside. Aubameyang, Lacazette and Pepe are all incredible players on their own, and the fact that they have such a close relationship off the pitch should only help them on the pitch.
That hasn’t really happened over the last 20 months and Arteta was quizzed why the trio haven’t worked well together at Arsenal.
Arteta said, as per Football London: “(It hasn’t worked) For different reasons.
“One of them because we have so many changes around the team, so many injuries and COVID and a lot of things happening with competitions that we have to alternate and still be competitive in both sides.
“And sometimes because the qualities we have around the team and that cohesion that the team needs so sometimes we need to do it in a different way.
“The connection comes with 11 players on the pitch and how they create that cohesion that fluidity. Against Liverpool, it didn’t happen but it’s not just because of them three, it’s because of all of us. It’s not good just to put individuals up.”
The Insider’s View:
Auba, Laca and Pepe have started just 11 times together since the start of the 2019/20 season. No fan would’ve predicted that when the Ivorian joined us two years ago, and it still is baffling as to why Arteta hasn’t found a way to accommodate all of them together.
Bukayo Saka’s emergence is certainly one of the reasons. The teenager has made the right-wing spot his own and that has pushed Pepe down the pecking order for most parts of this season.
With Aubameyang not playing like he should, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him join Pepe on the bench tonight. That is a real shame, but not many people can argue that starting Saka and Gabi Martinelli over them is a bad idea.