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29 Oct 2020 16:26:52
Long time reader but hardly ever post, but wanted to add to the ongoing debate on attacking options.

On Lacazette, I used to be a massive fan as I felt his technical quality and hold up play were essential, given that while Auba is a massive goal threat he always seemed to be to be more of a movement based player rather than technically gifted. However, over the past few months I’ve sadly come to the conclusion that Laca’s killer instinct, pace and even build up play have tapered off.

Agree0 Disagree0

29 Oct 2020 16:49:21
Mid-hit send before finishing my post. Continued below:

I now feel that Laca inhibits our play, and seems more content with winning free kicks in the middle of the pitch, rather than actually progressing play (unfortunately similar to most of our midfield) .

On Eddie, I like him but I’m just not sure what he excels at. He isn’t especially pacey, strong, tall or technical, and I haven’t seen the edge and mastery of the dirtier side of the game that most of the top poachers (Shearer, Van Nistelrooy, even Wright) possessed. To me seems to be a quality PL player, but not an exceptional one capable of leading the line for a club the size of what we profess to be.

All of this to say I support the move of Auba to the center, and having a more traditional 4-2-3-1 set up behind him. My only worry with this - where do our goals come from? This is already an issue, but a midfield 3 of some combination or Saka, Willian, ESR and Dani just doesn’t scream goals. Saka will hopefully continue to improve, and no doubt helps creatively, but don’t think we can count on him for 10-15 goals. Willian can maybe chip in with 5-8? That leaves us relying on Luiz finally coming good on the dozen or so set pieces he has already sent into the stands for an extra source of goals. Auba can’t do it all alone.

The way I see it, if we move Auba centrally, the only hope for an additional source of goals is Martinelli comes back firing and plays off the left, or Pepe re-discovers his France form (a possibility that looks farther off by the game) . I personally wouldn’t mind seeing Willian in the #10, as the decline in pace wouldn’t be so critical and his technical quality would be useful. Then we hope Martinelli can get fit and firing as soon as possible.

Worrying that coming out of the summer I thought our attack was sorted, defense improved, and only area of real worry was central midfield. While the midfield is obviously still a massive issue, our attack is far weaker than I though a month ago.

29 Oct 2020 19:09:26
Yankee - very true. The issue was the size of the challenge in midfield as we have too many non specialist players in midfield. Granit can’t tackle, doesn’t think quick enough and move us forward quickly. Amazing that Ozil is dropped for footballing reasons Yet Granit is flavour of the year. Dani - not a defensive player and not creative enough plus disappears. Elneny - think he’s a defensive midfielder and may be a better pairing with Partey but not sure he’s top 5 material. AMN never given the chance except ridiculously on left wing. Don’t know enough about Willock and would start AMN before him. So midfield was always going to be a mess especially once you removed Ozil.

Mikel has made his bed by ditching Ozil, backing Elneny and Granit and Luiz and Leno.

I’ve got no idea what happened to Laca - for me he’s best in a front 2 not a front 3. His decline is amazing.

You should post more - happy Thursday.

30 Oct 2020 00:56:11
For me, moving Auba centrally would add way more symmetry to our attack. When he plays on the left, we are most effective going forward with a left-sided bias as to get the ball to Auba. This usually means the right winger (e. g Pepe) never gets himself into goalscoring positions himself as he plays very wide to stretch opposition defence and isn't told to run in behind like Auba is, instead taking up a more supporting role. The central striker (e. g Laca) often plays with his back to goal most of the time, again to try and support build-up play to create chances for Auba. So moving him centrally would mean less of an asymmetrical attack with the focal point becoming more central.

But even if Auba were to play centrally I still don't think he would score that many goals because our chance creation is still so poor. MAs philosophy this season seems to be very safe build-up and relies on the opposition making mistakes in their defensive set-up to try and exploit. It's part of the reason we are better defensively as we are less prone to counter attacks by not committing men forward as much and being safer in possession, but there is absolutely no risk-taking going forward, and it nullifies counter-attacks, which is how Auba has scored so many goals for us - by running into lots of space behind.

The safe brand of football we have been playing is the brand of football we should play only when we are up by at least 2 goals or so. There is a serious lack of movement/ fluidity in the final third, and even when our forwards do find a pocket of space, our midfielders never risk the forward pass because MA has probably instructed them to prioritise possession. It is becoming very frustrating and I hope he addresses this issue somehow (however at least he has recognised it and admitted it needs to be worked on) .

30 Oct 2020 07:48:03
Don’t forget pea has scored nearly all his goals playing out wide, I’m not to sure about playing him as number one forward, he doesn’t seem in the game when he’s up top, but lacca does and always involved, when he plays striker he’s not in the game as much so I’m torn on that one.

30 Oct 2020 12:41:02
Welsh, I think that’s why I keep thinking two up front Laca and PEA. PEA is a little lazy up front but quite deadly. I’m not convinced by Laca so that’s why I ended up 4 2 3 1 - I think this give PEA freedom but also plenty people around him to pull defence out wide, nice quick through balls from a creative centre and runners into holes while also not killing the left wing which pea kinda does as he’s terrible as a winger - can’t cross or pass that well and doesn’t track back.

30 Oct 2020 13:59:24
Pea up top with lacca just behind maybe?

31 Oct 2020 11:24:40
Firstly, great post YG. I am also a fan of Lacca but again agree that he is a shadow of his former self, and with Aubey in the team, he has to start in the cf role ahead of Lacca currently.

For me it’s a simple equation, in that by moving Aubey off the left, do we have a more effective alternative to fill that position versus the negative of losing Lacca from the starting 11.

The answer is yes, between Saka and once fit, Martinelli I think we have good cover on the left. Perhaps though, as we play the 3-4-3, we could move to a more 3-5-2, which would allow for us to play both Aubey and Lacca together as a front 2. They seem to get on well, so perhaps being closer they could drive each other on?

I would think that any opposition defence would also least like to have to play against them as a front two. Yes we would lose a bit of width without a front 3, but then again we don’t use it anyway, both Pepe and Aubey have to cut in anyway.

Also with a midfield 5, Willian could drop in to the central midfield spot playing right behind the front two, and even Pepe and definitely Martinelli could also play that role?

Colney I agree with you, in that I just don’t get managers obsession with possession. It was the downfall of Wenger, and I think it will be the downfall of Arteta if he goes down the same route. Surely in this statistic dominated world, they can see that possession only matters when it is in the oppositions final 3rd.

This is why teams press, win the ball back where you can instantly hurt the opposition. However keeping the ball on the halfway line, passing sideways, slightly forward, then all the way back to the keeper to start again, I can’t believe there is any stat in the world that shows that is successful?

31 Oct 2020 14:20:19
I think I’d rather have someone like DB10 or Giroud type player - looking at our squad. not sure we have that but Laca’s first touch etc isn’t good enough. I’d try Pepe or ESR.



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