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Premier League: 3 Possible attacking combinations for Arsenal following the imminent arrival of Nicolas Pepe

Arsenal v Olympique Lyonnais - Emirates Cup
Arsenal v Olympique Lyonnais - Emirates Cup
Elvis Ume O
ANALYST
Modified 31 Jul 2019, 10:43 IST
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After almost two months of relative inactivity in the transfer market, Arsenal are on the verge of completing one of the biggest coups by signing Ivorian international Nicolas Pepe from Lille for the sum of £72m, with reports emanating that he is currently in London for medicals.

Pepe emerged as one of the breakthrough talents in all of Europe last season after helping Les Dogues to a second-placed finish in Ligue 1 just a year on from battling to avoid the drop and it was for his imperious displays in attack for Christophe Galtier's side that he was voted into the UNFB Ligue 1 Team of the Season.

Given his performances, it was quite understandable that the former Angers man emanated as one of the most in-demand players in the world, and quite how Arsenal managed to fork out the £72m to sign him despite initial claims of having just £45m to spend on transfers is a matter for another day.

However, what is not in doubt is that despite spending a club-record fee to bring him to the Emirates, Arsenal would reap the gains of signing a top-quality forward who would aid in their quest to reclaim Champions League football.

Nicolas Pepe offers pace, directness, and vibrancy in attack, while he is also a very viable outlet for creating and scoring goals.

To put this in context, the 24-year-old accrued 22 goals and 11 assists from 38 league games last season, making him one of only 11 players who managed double figures in both departments last season in Europe's big five leagues.

Furthermore, his direct involvement in 33 league goals was only bettered by three men viz: Messi (49), Mbappe (40) and Fabio Quagrirella (34) in the same criteria.

Pepe would undoubtedly strengthen Arsenal's attack; which is a view shared by his new manager in waiting and having yet to clock 25, if he plays to his full potential, The Gunners would fancy their chances of rising to the top of the football chain in England once again.

Nicolas Pepe's imminent arrival coupled with the presence of other proven performers in attack like Aubameyang and Lacazette offers real excitement for Arsenal fans and it also presents Unai Emery with a number of feasible formations to tinker with and harness the full impact of his attacking trio.

In this piece, we shall be highlighting three possible attacking combinations for Arsenal next season.

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#1 Nicolas Pepe playing as a RWF in a 4-3-3

Both Nicolas Pepe and Lacazette would play as inverted wingers
Both Nicolas Pepe and Lacazette would play as inverted wingers

Nicolas Pepe is a dynamic forward who can play anywhere across the frontline and has even been deployed as a center-forward by the eccentric Marcelo Bielsa in the past.

However, as last season showed us, his best work comes when he is stationed out wide on the right, as it enables him cut inside onto his stronger left foot and shoot at goal.

Blessed with tremendous pace and an ability to beat his marker with ease, these traits would come in handy for Pepe, as he would most likely come up against a left-footed full-back, which would make him more difficult to mark.

On the other flank, Lacazette who is is almost as good a finisher as Aubameyang but the better shooter from range would play as a left-wing forward.

This formation would come in very handy against deep-lying and defensive conscious full-backs, as the Arsenal forwards would not worry about having to penetrate too much and would be urged to shoot as often as possible.

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Published 31 Jul 2019, 10:43 IST
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