Arsenal's 5-2 thrashing over Everton on Sunday not only saw the Gunners become the first team to score 100 Premier League goals against a single opponent, but it also marked the first occasion in which their star trio of Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Alexandre Lacazette started a game together.
Arsenal have become the first team to score 100 Premier League goals against a single opponent (Everton) pic.twitter.com/rnn9qZwRO5— Goal (@goal) October 22, 2017
Each of the forwards scored a goal: Ozil nodding in an Alexis cross; Lacazette the beneficiary of a smart move between the other two; and Alexis concluding the scoring with a well-taken solo effort in the latter stages of the game.
There was giddy talk afterwards of the Gunners mounting an unlikely title charge as they moved back above Watford into fifth in the Premier League standings thanks to a devastating display from the front three.
But how do the newly-formed AOL compare to a selection of the greatest forward trios of recent years?
ALEXIS, OZIL, LACAZETTE (AOL) | ARSENAL
In Alexis, Arsenal have one of the finest forwards in European football and his shift into a central striker role at times under Wenger has seen a healthy return of goals from the Chile international. Alexis has struck 54 goals in his 109 appearances since his arrival in 2014, averaging a goal every 166 minutes of play.
Alexis is often the leading light in the Gunners' attack, such is the ferocity with which he presses play in attacking areas, though Lacazette's presence has seen the former Barcelona ace drop slightly deeper into a more natural position. The energy of Alexis allows Ozil to source pockets of space and feed his attacking team-mates. Against Everton, the German created more chances (eight) than any player in a single Premier League game this season.
“He was superb,” Wenger said after Ozil's man of the match-winning display at Goodison Park. “Agile, quick and intelligent. He was always at the service of the team with his quality of passing. When he is at that level, he is an exceptional football player.”
The addition of Lacazette has transformed Arsenal into a real threat on the counter-attack, which was seen for the first time on Sunday as the Gunners registered more shots (30) against Everton than they had managed in any Premier League away game since the start of 2011-12.
The three have the makings of a special attacking unit, though the uncertainty surrounding the futures of both Alexis and Ozil threatens to disrupt things before they have had a proper chance to establish themselves as a major force.
|League 2013/14 - 17/18||Lacazette||Ozil||Alexis|
|Shots, Total (inc. Blocks)||20||157||379|
|Shooting Accuracy %||66.7||61.5||57.5|
|Shot Conversion Rate (inc. Blocks) %||25||15.3||14.3|
|Chances Created (inc. assists)||7||417||236|
MESSI, SUAREZ, NEYMAR (MSN) | BARCELONA
While Neymar's relationship breakdown with the Barcelona board has soured his reputation at Camp Nou, his involvement in the renowned MSN forward line established his reputation in European football and saw him obtain hero status in Catalunya for a short period of time.
Such was the stupendous standing of Messi, however, the Brazil international was always second-fiddle in the relationship, with the goals and tremendous energy of Suarez also taking some shine of Neymar's sometimes wastefulness in front of goal at Barca.
The MSN front-three, though, was one of the most prolific alliances ever seen in European football, with 301 La Liga goals scored between the three over the course of Neymar's stay at the club.
They were also as successful as they were effective. The ludicrous talent of Messi, the dynamism of Suarez and the flamboyance of Neymar combined to seal three Copa del Rey victories, two Liga titles triumphs and the 2014-15 Champions League trophy for Barca.
|League 2013/14 - 17/18||Suarez||Messi||Neymar|
|Shots, Total (inc. Blocks)||354||744||392|
|Shooting Accuracy %||55.8||62.8||55.3|
|Shot Conversion Rate (inc. Blocks) %||24.9||19.5||17.4|
|Chances Created (inc. assists)||182||344||287|
BENZEMA, BALE, CRISTIANO (BBC) | REAL MADRID
While not as flexible as the Barca trio, and perhaps not as creative as the Arsenal three, there's a beautiful simplicity of the Real front three, which is centred on physicality; the sheer power and pace of both Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo, and Karim Benzema's presence and unselfish work ethic.
Ronaldo's 140 goals in 135 appearances since the start of the 2013-14 Liga campaign is an unrivalled goals-to-game ratio, though it is Benzema who has been most accurate in front of goal during that time, boasting a percentage of 19.3, just short of Messi.
Injury has regularly seen the relationship between the three broken up, as has the transformation of Ronaldo into a centre-forward and the introduction of Marco Asensio, but the BBC still ranks as one of the most recognised attacking triumvirates in world football.
|League 2013/14 - 17/18||Bale||Benzema||Ronaldo|
|Shots, Total (inc. Blocks)||350||352||863|
|Shooting Accuracy %||46.9||56.1||51.5|
|Shot Conversion Rate (inc. Blocks) %||16||19.3||16.2|
|Chances Created (inc. assists)||176||202||215|
NEYMAR, MBAPPE, EDINSON (NME) | PSG
The newly-formed Paris Saint-Germain attack looks increasingly likely to become the newest European superpower, with world-record signing Neymar fitting in seamlessly into his new surroundings since arriving from Catalunya in August.
Much has been said about the personal situation between the former Barca star and Edinson Cavani, but the Parisian side currently four points clear at the top of Ligue 1 despite dropping points in Sunday's Classique against Marseille.
In Neymar and Mbappe, the capital club hold two of the most exciting talents in world football, while Cavani outscored every top-tier player in France last season, including Lacazette at Lyon, with 35 goals in 36 games.
So far this season, only Monaco's Radamel Falcao has registered more goals than the Uruguay international, though PSG are the division's top scorers by some distance, with 31 goals in 10 games.
|League 2013/14 - 17/18||Cavani||Mbappe||Neymar|
|Shots, Total (inc. Blocks)||469||18||25|
|Shooting Accuracy %||54.2||66.7||77.8|
|Shot Conversion Rate (inc. Blocks) %||20.7||11.1||28|
|Chances Created (inc. assists)||94||8||34|