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Arsenal: 3 ways front three can look next season

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Arsenal, Bukayo Saka, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Eddie Nketiah

Arsenal, Bukayo Saka, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Eddie Nketiah (Photo by Robin Jones/Getty Images)

Arsenal have massive decisions to make regarding the future of their front three. Here are three ways the position group could look next season.

Perhaps no other position in the Arsenal squad requires more difficult decisions than the front three. This is largely down to the futures of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette, the two key components of the Gunners’ attack since Aubameyang’s arrival in January 2018. Either could be sold this summer. Both could leave. Both could stay. Everything is on the table.

With that in mind, here are three ways the front three positions could shake out next season.

Arsenal, Eddie Nketiah

PORTSMOUTH, ENGLAND – MARCH 02: Eddie Nkethia of Arsenal celebrates after he scores a goal to make it 2-0 during the FA Cup Fifth Round match between Portsmouth FC and Arsenal FC at Fratton Park on March 02, 2020 in Portsmouth, England. (Photo by Robin Jones/Getty Images)

3. Alexandre Lacazette leaves

If Lacazette leaves and Aubameyang stays, most fans will pine to see Aubameyang move into the centre-forward position. Mikel Arteta has largely used Aubameyang off the left flank since he took over as head coach this winter. Aubameyang, though, developed as a centre-forward at Borussia Dortmund and some believe he is wasted in a wide berth.

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The stats tell a different story. In the 696 Premier League minutes that Aubameyang has played under Arteta, he has six goals, averaging one every 116 minutes. Under Unai Emery this season, he scored a goal every 146.25 minutes. Under Arteta, Aubameyang has a higher expected goals per 90, more touches per 90, more touches in the penalty area per 90, more dribbles completed per 90. As such, if Lacazette leaves, Aubameyang might well remain out wide.

That would open the door for Eddie Nketiah, who started to play ahead of Lacazette prior to the current hiatus. Nketiah has impressed greatly since returning to Arsenal in January and Arteta has been noticeably pleased with his work-rate and goalscoring knack. He has three in five starts. Should Lacazette depart, then, with Nicolas Pepe manning the right side and Aubameyang on the left like normal, Nketiah might be handed the opportunity to step up.

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