All out attack! Aubameyang, Lacazette and Pepe can pile pain on Spurs

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Unai Emery has yet to start his star attacking trio together and the pressure is building on him to unleash them against Tottenham

“Be calm!"

That was the message Unai Emery sent out to fans as the clamour grows for Arsenal’s head coach to finally let the leash off his new front three.

So far this season, Emery has resisted the urge to play his star attacking trio together. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang started on his own at Newcastle on the opening weekend before being joined up front by Alexandre Lacazette against Burnley six days later.

Then, at Liverpool last weekend, it was Nicolas Pepe’s time to start, with the club-record signing paired with Aubameyang at the top of a midfield diamond. Lacazette had to make do with a place on the bench.

It was a decision that frustrated fans, as well as Gunners legend Ian Wright.

“Aubameyang’s goal record makes him the more potent player but Lacazette makes my team every week,” said Wright. “They both do!

“You can’t have that goalscoring threat and not have them on the field. You have to find a way to get them on the field to get them to do what they do. Lacazette should start every week.

“The three of those guys – Pepe, Aubameyang and Lacazette – bring something different.”

Wright added: "Pepe can beat people one-on-one with his fantastic pace, while Aubameyang is brilliant on the shoulder and if you can get the ball to him, he’s literally unstoppable.

"My mind is all about attacking and I want to get those three guys the ball and let them get on with it.

Ian Wright Arsenal PS

“Lacazette should not be on the bench against Liverpool. You come to this country to play in these games against those teams. You want to start in those games and I’d be disappointed if I was him.”

Lacazette was disappointed. The way the France international launched the ball into the fans sat in the Anfield Road end moments after the final whistle showed exactly what he thought about being left out of the starting XI.

But it was a difficult one for Emery. Arsenal have been handed heavy defeats at Anfield in each of their last three previous visits and the mental scars from last season’s 5-1 mauling were clearly fresh in the Spaniard’s mind.

He set his team up to crowd the central areas and with the aim of getting the ball forward quickly to try and exploit the pace of Aubameyang and Pepe.

And the plan worked for the majority of the first half. The only thing that was missing was a goal. Both Aubameyang and Pepe had golden chances to open the scoring but failed to take them.

Had they gone in front, Arsenal could well have gone on to win the game. But they didn’t, and from the moment Joel Matip gave Liverpool the lead just before the interval, there was only ever going to be one winner.

But this weekend sees Arsenal return to home comforts. They will be meeting another member of the 'Big Six', but in Tottenham they will be coming up against a team in a very different place right now to Liverpool.

The two teams may have met in the Champions League final just three months ago, but while Liverpool have hit the ground running this season, Spurs have stumbled through the opening weeks.

Christian Eriksen Tottenham PS

They make the short trip to the Emirates on the back of a shock 1-0 home defeat by Newcastle last weekend and with boss Mauricio Pochettino having admitted that his team is as unsettled now as it ever has been during his tenure.

It just feels like the perfect opportunity for Aubameyang, Lacazette and Pepe to start together for the first time.

Emery went with a diamond formation in midfield at Anfield, but is expected to revert back to the 4-2-3-1 formation this weekend, with Lacazette to start as the central striker.

Pepe will then play on the right, with Aubameyang on the left and Dani Ceballos could be charged with dictating play from the No.10 position.

“I think they can start together,” said Emery - tantalisingly - ahead of the game. “It depends how we decide our game plan. But I am very optimistic for that situation.”

Spurs have struggled defensively this season. There have been big gaps exposed between the full-backs and the centre-backs, especially on the left-hand side between Danny Rose and Davinson Sanchez.

And at right-back there are issues with injury. With Kyle Walker-Peters, Juan Foyth and Eric Dier all out, it could be that Serge Aurier is brought back into the fold having been frozen out this season by Pochettino.

It feels like the ideal time for Arsenal to get at Spurs from the start and to try and kick them while they are down. Pepe and Aubameyang could run riot in the wider areas where Spurs have been exposed in recent weeks.

Emmanuel Petit Arsenal PS

“I hope the manager will have the guts to do what Jurgen Klopp does with his front three,” said former Gunners star Emmanuel Petit ahead of the game. “Emery needs to do the same with Arsenal.

“Pepe will show the Premier League what he's made of. He looks skinny and fragile but he's very toned and very fast – and, of course, superb with the ball at his feet. 

“He speaks the same football language as Lacazette and Aubameyang in terms of movement and passing. 

“It's just a bit frustrating that Arsenal haven't played slightly more offensively so far. It was only in the last 20 minutes of the Liverpool match that Emery made the decision to put three up front – and we saw straight away that the face of the team changed.”

Those final stages at Anfield last week gave fans a tantalising glimpse of what could be in store for Arsenal fans as the season progresses.

The supporters have been patient so far, but that patience will soon start to run out if Emery continues to err on the side of caution.

He knows that too, which is probably why he called for calm ahead of Sunday. But this is the North London Derby; there is nothing calm about it.

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It’s a match packed full of intensity, passion and more often than not, goals.

In Lacazette, Pepe and Aubameyang, Arsenal have a frontline with the potential do real damage.

It’s time they were all let off the leash.

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