This article is part of Football FanCast’s In Numbers series, which takes a statistical look at performances, season-long form and reported transfer targets…
Amidst all of Arsenal’s defensive problems this season (they have already conceded 21 goals in just 14 games in the Premier League), they have also been woefully out-of-sorts going forward too. The Gunners have found the back of the net just 20 times, with newly-promoted Aston Villa who are currently in 15th, bagging 21 themselves.
The north London side have been heavily reliant on former Borussia Dortmund man Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to fire in the goals, and his latest brace against Norwich on Sunday taking his tally to 12. In contrast, his strike partner and double act Alexandre Lacazette has endured a hugely difficult start to the campaign. Injuries have played their part in disrupting his form and progress, but after another blank at Carrow Road, the France international now has just four goals in 11 games across all competitions.
And after witnessing his truly disappointing performance against the Canaries, new interim head coach Freddie Ljungberg really does have a major decision on his hands when it comes to the 28-year-old.
Given the number nine role once again ahead of Aubameyang, the Frenchman unfortunately did not show Ljungberg why he should be trusted with that responsibility. He toiled on his own up front, and struggled to involve himself in the build-up play, registering just 46 touches over the course of the 90 minutes. As per Sofascore, his 6.5 match rating was the joint-worst of any Arsenal player that started, and when looking at his under-lying numbers it is easy to see why.
Coming up against Norwich’s centre-back pairing of Ben Godfrey and Christoph Zimmerman, Lacazette appeared to be physically bullied out of the game. The ex-Lyon centre-forward failed to hold the ball up, and it was no surprise to see him win just one out of the ten ground duels he was involved in. And due to his inability to make the ball stick, he lost possession 15 times too.
Frustrations eventually got the better of him, and his total of three fouls committed were a joint team-high. With his teammate Aubameyang in such a rich vein of form, Ljungberg may begin to wonder whether it’s time to drop the £46.5m man in favour of moving the Gabon international into the number nine spot. Leaving a big-money star out may not sounds particularly inviting, but given his recent struggles, it may just be best for the team.
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