Arsenal have recently confirmed that Alexandre Lacazette won’t feature until the beginning of October due to an ankle problem and that is undoubtedly a blow for the team, given the striker has formed an impressive partnership with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang upfront over the past year.
The north London side don’t have an immediate replacement in hand for the striker’s role but manager Unai Emery has the option of playing Aubameyang in a central position such that one of the bench players can be entrusted with the wide attacking duties.
Here are three players who could benefit from Lacazette’s absence…
Mesut Ozil: The German star has become a forlorn figure at the Gunners this season with Emery resisting the prospect of offering him with playing time. The attacker made the matchday squad for the first time during the recent 2-2 derby draw against Tottenham Hotspur and it was surprising that he did not make the field of play, considering Emery had made one substitution available until the end. While Ozil prefers to feature in the number 10 role, he has played on the left side of the attack under former boss Arsene Wenger. Emery tends to normally ignore Ozil when it comes to the away league games but that trend may change for the upcoming clash at Watford, given the absence of Lacazette has depleted the attack force.
Dani Ceballos: The Real Madrid loanee has started in exactly 50 percent of the league games this season while contributing a couple of assists. The Spain international was dropped to the bench for the north London derby this month after he failed to produce a reasonable performance against Liverpool prior to that. However, he managed to redeem himself with a good performance off the bench against Spurs, where he showed the eagerness to move the ball forward while not being afraid of testing the goalkeeper with long-range shots. Ceballos has been deployed in the central midfield and attacking midfield roles under Emery but he can likewise feature on the left wing from where he was impressive for Spain against Romania during the international break.
Reiss Nelson: The teenager has been highly rated while progressing through the different youth teams but he has yet to impress under Emery. Nelson has shown glimpses of his trickery and raw pace on the counter attack but he has lacked the end product. After starting the first two games of the season, Nelson has remained an unused substitute in the next two. Still, he has the slight edge over the above-mentioned duo from the fact that he is a specialist winger, who is comfortable playing on both sides of the field. The recent departure of Henrikh Mkhitaryan to AS Roma on loan will no doubt enhance Nelson’s playing time in the Cup competitions, but the youngster will be hoping to succeed in the Premier League where he remains a rookie for the moment.