Alexandre Lacazette could prove to be Arsenal’s version of Harry Kane now that Mikel Arteta has dropped him into a number 10 role, claims Martin Keown.
An England international striker at Tottenham has been allowed to sit a little deeper this season.
Kane has been one of the most prolific number nines in world football over the course of his career, but his vision and creativity is now being embraced in different areas by Spurs.
Keown believes Arsenal have the opportunity to favour a similar approach in their forward line, with Mikel Arteta still searching for a winning formula.
The Gunners have now begun to tinker with their system, starting in a Europa League clash with Rapid Vienna, and that could allow their most productive frontman to figure down the middle as a France international provides the ammunition.
Keown told the Daily Mail of the approach he would take into a north London derby date with Spurs on Sunday: “A change of system could revitalise Aubameyang. He and Lacazette love playing together and the Frenchman being deployed from deep could rejuvenate that partnership.
“Arsene Wenger used to tell us: 'Be free in your mind.' He wanted every player to feel like he could express himself. I saw some of that freedom against Vienna.
“It's well-known now that Harry Kane drops deep and makes life difficult for opponents. He operates between the defence and midfield, making himself hard to pick up. Lacazette in that deep role could work well. Arteta has to decide between the back three or going with the four.”
It is not just in the final third that Arsenal are experiencing issues this season, with leaks at the back also springing at times.
Arteta has made plugging those a top priority, but he is yet to settle on a formation that allows the Gunners to be competitive at both ends of the pitch.
Former centre-half Keown added: “After Unai Emery's exit, the problems were clear. Arteta identified there was a defensive issue when the team were out of possession and he had to make them more difficult to beat.
“He reintroduced the back three which Emery had flirted with. They swept to victory against Manchester City and Chelsea in the FA Cup and it was impressive how they frustrated Liverpool in the Community Shield.
“But it appears a back four offers a better platform for Arteta's team to be more creative in the final third. The three can soon become a five and limit creativity, whereas Arteta wants to take control of games.”