So I see plenty of noise about Sergio Aguero and his scoring record on my Twitter timeline at the moment. The man has just surpassed Thierry Henry in terms of Premier League goals to become the highest overseas goal scorer. Quite a feat indeed and he deserves the praise being afforded to him.
But don’t compare him to Thierry. It falls down if you do.
Aguero is a potent and prolific goal scorer. So was Thierry. But Thierry also had skills to beat a man. Thierry also made a ton of assists for his team. Thierry also won more of the individual honours for his greatness.
Because he was the greatest striker the Premier League has ever seen. The end.
So, anyway, we move on to the real debate and that is how Arteta is going to cope with Aubameyang being missing for the next three games. Our main striker will be out for the next three games and that is a problem for us because our other main man hasn’t been in any kind of form and now it means somebody simply has to step up.
We’ll put aside the frustrations of refereeing inconsistency (I retweeted a video of a very similar ‘tackle’ by Norwich’s Kenny McLean which only drew a yellow and no VAR look) for a second because missing Auba will be very tough for us. He has the vast bulk of our goals this season and certainly, away from home, it feels like he’s about the only one that does score. So with two of the next three away from home – Chelski and Bournemouth – it does feel like we’re going to need to have some players stepping up big time if we are to keep on a good run of form.
And those players are the likes of Lacazette, Pepe, probably even Reiss Nelson and you’d hope Martinelli. All four of those need to be able to contribute because without them it might be a barren few weeks.
The next few games will also show us what life will be like without the Gabonese striker next season, because without him signing a new deal we will need to find alternatives under the new Arteta regime and so the next few games probably need to be quite some litmus test for a few of these players.
I remember when van Persie left us and we replaced with Giroud, Podolski and Cazorla. I can recall blogging about how we don’t need a 30 goal striker if those three players contribute 30 goals between them and I think in that first season after the Dutchman they got just over that between them. It’s what we need to start thinking of now because long-term we need to start thinking about how we replace Auba’s goals and that means we need to start seeing other players show they can do the business.
Arteta has spoken about that and also how he won’t rush Eddie into first team action as a result. I get that and certainly I don’t think it would be too kind of the guys development if he goes from super sub at Leeds to Arsenal’s first team, but there is part of me that is questioning whether he’ll ever be ready. There’s no doubt Lacazette will lead the line against Sheffield United and with plenty of wide players to fill in you wouldn’t expect Eddie to get a look in for the next three games, but it couldn’t hurt to delay the loan deal for him for a couple of weeks and get him on the bench for Saturday’s game, could it?
That just feels like it’s risk mitigation to me. We’ve just lost a striker for effectively three weeks, he’ll be back at the end of the January transfer window and Eddie can be an option from the bench in case we need it, before loaning him out for the rest of the season. Makes perfect sense to me. I get that Tricky Micky is thinking about his development and getting him bedded in to a team for a few weeks now might be beneficial, but ultimately it’s our first team we need to think of.
And speaking of which, the other news which appears to be doing the rounds is that Mavropanos is potentially on his way to Germany – to FC Nürnberg – on loan for the rest of the season. That’s got a few people excited because many think it’ll mean the club are on the verge of doing some sort of deal. For a new centre half. I understand putting two and two together to make four and that, but we have to remember that we are already overloaded with centre halves in the squad. I would expect a Premier League team to have four, maybe five centre halves in its squad for the season. We have: