After an awesome game against Leicester last Friday night, Arsene Wenger probably has a headache. When his team played in 3-4-2-1 they had good possession and some good combinations but the defense is very bad, probably due to the lack of Laurent Koscielny and Shkodran Mustafi. In the second half, when Arsenal moved back to 4-2-3-1, the team won the game, helped with intelligent substitutions from the French coach.
With new choice in the front of attack, there are opportunities for Arsene Wenger to adjust his tactics, which will probably be a key element during the season.
How Alexandre Lacazette Plays?
Firstly talk about the new arrival, Alexandre Lacazette. The Frenchman is a pure striker, with more than 20 goals in his last three season in Ligue 1 and one goal every 90 minutes last year, statistics speak for him. People following the French league know that he can participate in the game too and combine with those around him, as Arsenal like to do. Nevertheless, in Premier League his small size (1,75 m) could cause him some trouble face to strong defenders and it’s why Arsene Wenger try him on the left wing both in pre-season and at the end of the game against Leicester last Friday night.
We can see him more like an Antoine Griezmann, capable both play in front of the attack and behind a taller striker playing in the pivot position. It’s not for nothing that Atletico Madrid tried to sign him when Antoine Griezmann was in talks with Manchester United at beginning of transfer window.
Choice Of The Arsenal Attack
With Olivier Giroud, Alexandre Lacazette, Danny Welbeck, Alexis Sanchez, Alex Iwobi, Theo Walcott and Mesut Ozil there are a lot of possible combinations in attack.
The two real strikers are Oliver Giroud and Alexandre Lacazette although they can be replaced by Danny Welbeck or Alexis Sanchez if they are injured.
Looking at the graph below confirms what everybody knows about this two guys: Olivier Giroud is obviously better with his head and Lacazette capacity to dribble could bring more to the game.
The only similarity between Olivier Giroud and Lacazette is their nationality. In the French national team, the two strikers almost never play together. French coach Didier Deschamps long time bad idea was to play with Kevin Gameiro and Antoine Griezmann in attack because of their relationship at Atletico Madrid. Now it’s Olivier Giroud playing with Griezmann and if Alexandre Lacazette finds some complementarity with Olivier Giroud at Arsenal, we could see the two Gunners start in the French lineup during the World Cup.
The arrival of Alexandre Lacazette for £52 million makes me believe that he will be the main striker this season. However, with possible injuries and the Europa League, Olivier Giroud could also be a major player in attack.
Playing with both could be a good idea as they can play with the size of Olivier Giroud and good one-touch releases to combine with Alexandre Lacazette who has a better self-control in the last 15 meters.
Moreover, Alexandre Lacazette lacks the size for the aerial duels, something we have seen in the match against Leicester.
We’ve already seen Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez grumble against Olivier Giroud and other players as to their poor choice in the game, maybe because they’re too static. This season there will be no excuse for Mesut Ozil because Alexandre Lacazette is a player who is quicker. The arrival of Alexandre Lacazette could be a trigger for the German, which disappears too often in some games.
Alexandre Lacazette has a completely different profile than other strikers in the team. This new feature in the squad will allow to Arsenal to adjust its lineup in so many different ways. Here is two possible lineup’s which could be used this season.
We saw Alexandre Lacazette take the left wing at the end of the game against The Foxes, undoubtedly a good idea, moreover if you bring in Alexis Sanchez. A trio composed by Olivier Giroud, Alexandre Lacazette, and Alexis Sanchez could win matches where Mesut Ozil is transparent or tired with Alexis Sanchez or Aaron Ramsey in a leading role.
With good chances to reach last rounds of Europa League plus the FA cup and League Cup, it seems that Arsenal will play about sixty games this season. Arsene Wenger will have to change the squad, and chances will be varied. This rotation, almost mandatory, will undoubtedly make it possible to see the young players who have shone in pre-season like Reiss Nelson or Ainsley Maitland-Niles.
We see here what is should be a major strength for Arsenal this season: the ability to change tactics, according to the opponent, the injured, competitions, etc… We felt it in the first game against Leicester and this is what allowed Arsenal to win the game.