Arsenal boss Emery thinks Aubameyang and Lacazette can partner in attack
LONDON -- Unai Emery has no doubts that Arsenal strikers Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette can co-exist on the pitch, even though he opted to start the latter on the bench in the season opener.
Emery faces a quandary when it comes to making the most of his attacking options as he has two two strikers in Lacazette and Aubameyang and two quality playmakers in Mesut Ozil and Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
In Sunday's loss to Manchester City, Lacazette was sacrificed in favour of a 4-3-3 formation with Aubameyang up front, but Emery has also tested systems during preseason where both forwards were on the pitch at the same time.
Lacazette gave Arsenal's attack against Man City a boost when he came on in the second half, and Aubameyang told ESPN FC after that game that there is "a spark" between them when playing together.
Emery wouldn't give anything away regarding his tactics for Saturday's match against Chelsea, but made it clear that he plans to play with both strikers at times this season.
"The possibility to play Aubameyang and Lacazette is OK because we are trying like that in preseason and also last year they played together," Emery said. "Each match is a different possibility.
"For me it is to find the good balance for all that we want in attacking moments and defensive moments. I want to look at every player together, how to get Aubameyang and Lacazette scoring more goals, whether as one or together."
Another issue for Emery is how to make the most of Ozil's playmaking ability while also getting the German to buy into his philosophy of using an intense pressing game when out of possession.
Ozil enjoyed a much freer role under Arsene Wenger, when his defensive work rate was often criticised, and he looked far from his best against Man City in the slightly unusual position out wide as part of a front three.
However, Emery insisted his role in the team hasn't changed.
"[Ozil] is playing all his career like a No. 10 player [or] like a right winger going inside to receive the ball. It's clear he needs the ball more to give more options in the attacking moments," Emery said. "The positioning in the pitch is the [same] as usual in his career. Don't change Mesut Ozil in his positioning."
That said, it's clear Ozil will have to shoulder more defensive responsibilities, just like every other Arsenal player in Emery's system. And the Spaniard is conviniced he is up to the task.
"Defensive moments are for each and every player," he said. "There are defensive moments and attacking moments. Every player needs this commitment to do the two moments. For me, we need to start together, whether we are attacking or defending. I want that from every player."