Sky Sports pundit Charlie Nicholas has taken aim at Arsenal strike duo Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette.
The Gunners double act will need to produce the goods when Freddie Ljungberg’s side welcome Manchester City to the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.
Nicholas, though, feels the hosts will be on the wrong end of a 4-2 reverse.
“We can guarantee goals in this one,” he wrote on the Sky Sports website. “I am going to go for a high scoreline here. Man City posted an emphatic win midweek but have major problems at the back. The Arsenal strikers looked as though they were more up for it and are scoring.
“Bukayo Saka played his part in the draw at Standard Liege, as did Gabriel Martinelli off the bench – we have some real promising youngsters. These are the games that they haven’t got a result in and I am not expecting one here.
“Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang sometimes do not turn up in these games, if they get picked that is. I really have sympathy for Bernd Leno. He is a top-class goalkeeper but he will make mistakes as all goalkeepers do. He is playing behind a defence who do not protect him. There will be loads of goals in this.”
Is Nicholas being too harsh here?
Probably a little bit.
It’s true that Aubameyang and Lacazette rarely show their best selves in these sorts of games, but that’s largely because they don’t play for a Man City or a Liverpool. They play for an Arsenal team with cavernous holes, so it’s hard for them to influence proceedings against teams as good as those.
Obviously you could make the argument that if they’re top class players they should be able to perform against the cream of the crop, and that’s true as well.
But they don’t always play together against the big teams, either. So they’re not always being picked in their best tandem, which is alongside each other. That inhibits their ability to perform to the best of their abilities as well.