Arsenal face Stoke City at the Emirates on Sunday, and between the two clubs and sets of fans there hasn’t been much friendship for years – in fact, ever since Ryan Shawcross broke Aaron Ramsey’s leg in 2010.
The game will mean very little to Arsenal in terms of points, but anything from it could mean the world of difference to the relegation-battling Stoke. However, for Arsenal, a good result would mean a lot in terms of confidence and momentum ahead of their game against CSKA in Moscow on Thursday as they fight to beat an alternative path to next season’s Champions League football.
Arsene Wenger has been fiddling with formations these past two seasons, but the changes were mostly seen between defence and midfield. ESPN’s Andrew Mangan now suggests a different approach upfront.
Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang cost Arsenal a combined sum of over £100 million, and both these players are certainly formidable strikers. So far, Wenger has always faced a choice between the two. But why should the former Lyon and former Dortmund man not play together?
A two-striker system hasn’t been used much in top-level football lately, but it certainly did wonders for Liverpool in 2013/14 when Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge scored 52 league goals between them and terrorized defences all over the Premier League.
Lacazette and Aubameyang are certainly top players, and if they could find a way to work together we could be in for some exciting football for the rest of the season. With Mesut Özil playing in the No.10 role and a midfield trio behind him to provide cover and work-rate, in front of a classic back-four defence, the Gunners could potentially reduce the effect of their defensive frailties by giving their best to outscore the opposition.
Given the current situation in the Premier League table, a little experimenting might just be what Arsenal need to liven things up.
Arsenal can be backed at 1/3 to beat Stoke on Sunday.