A new era begins at the Emirates on August 12th, with Unai Emery taking charge of Arsenal for the first time in the Premier League. The Gunners boss has overseen a productive summer in North London, presiding over a number of arrivals and departures ahead of the 2018-19 season.
The Spaniard is tasked with rebuilding the club following the departure of long-serving boss Arsene Wenger. He’s plugged the holes at the back, added competition in goal and drafted in some much-needed experience at full-back. One area that didn’t require too much strengthening was the final third, with deadly duo Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang both looking sharp in pre-season and the pair look set to continue where they left off in the top flight this campaign.
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The pair rarely started together last season, with Wenger opting for one up front during the early part of 2018 before Lacazette’s knee injury sidelined the Frenchman throughout February. It was a frustrating season for the 27-year-old, who hit just 14 goals in 2,211 minutes of Premier League football and was overlooked by Didier Deschamps for France’s World Cup 2018 squad.
He played just 116 minutes for his country during their qualifiers but a decent return this year could put him back in the frame. After success in Russia, Les Bleus have been installed as 5/1 third-favourites for the UEFA Nations Cup in the international football betting markets and have been drawn alongside Holland and Germany in Group 1. Lacazette will be hoping to play some part in the newly formed tournament which begins in September.
Arsenal’s 2-1 defeat to Newcastle in April was the first time that the duo lined up alongside one another and they combined to devastating effect after just 14 minutes. Despite that loss, the pair looked sharp and were clearly on a similar wavelength. In three starts together they’ve accumulated five goals and three assists and that bodes well for the forthcoming campaign. Gunners fans will be hoping that there is plenty more to come from their deadly duo.
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Whilst many of the Premier League’s standout stars are returning from Russia this month, Arsenal’s front two return well-rested and with a full pre-season under their belt. Unai Emery is expecting them to hit the ground running especially with Lacazette notching goals against Chelsea, Boreham Wood and PSG in recent friendlies. Aubameyang also netted against the National League side and will be hoping to add to his ten Premier League goals from last season. He told reporters that he believes their different styles “…complement one another” and he is looking forward to working with his strike partner.
It is a partnership which is clearly flourishing and with both strikers fit and firing, a return to the top four is highly likely for the Gunners. They have a decent understanding, a solid friendship off-the-field and a mutual respect for one another. They may have a tough start to the campaign but Arsenal’s preparations have been solid and they look well-equipped to return to the Champions League spots this year.