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Do Gunners Have A Top-Class Goalscorer?

AubameyangHenrikh_1

The Premier League Golden Boot race is already heating up, and seems to be as important as the league title race itself to some people these days. The speed at which Sadio Mané got out of the gate started the goal-scoring race in earnest this year, and there’s already chatter about which players will challenge for the prestigious honour.

Almost strangely, the race for the Golden Boot is even considered to be one of the bigger betting markets associated with top-flight football in England. Not only is it simply interesting to speculate over which players will wind up with the most goals, but big signings rarely win the Golden Boot with a new team, which means fans have a known selection of players to choose from. There are exceptions of course, but usually the Golden Boot comes down to a handful of Premier League veterans who know what it takes to score in high volume in the league.

The question here is simple: Does Arsenal possess such a player? A slow start for the Gunners and some understandable growing pains under Unai Emery have resulted in low scoring thus far, so in the very early going no Arsenal player is on the goal scoring charts. And what’s more, no one for the Gunners was really expected to contend for the Golden Boot before the season began. It’s still worth looking at though, who could emerge as a top-class scorer once the offense gets rolling and (hopefully) the team improves.

Alexandre Lacazette

Lacazette is the clear candidate to pull off a top-class scoring season for Arsenal in 2018/19. Though he had just 14 goals in 32 appearances a season ago, he is more clearly positioned as the primary attacking option now, and if this team gets rolling it’s going to be in large part because he starts finding the back of the net with regularity. For his part, one-time Arsenal forward Charlie Nicholas backed Lacazette to win the Golden Boot. That was perhaps a touch optimistic, but we like where his thinking is.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

At least judging by recent history, Aubameyang is actually a more prolific Premier League scorer than Lacazette. The 2017/18 season saw him net 10 goals in just 13 appearances despite not being as much of a central attacking option as Lacazette, and he’s in for a larger role this season. Should Emery settle on his favoured 4-1-4-1 formation, the wings will have plenty of opportunity to press forward, which could make Aubameyang a very dangerous scoring option in transitions and on long balls.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan

Mkhitaryan has never been much of a goal scorer, so this is a long shot at best. He’s more content keeping the ball moving than finishing the play, and has only a handful of scores to his credit over the last several seasons. There’s little to suggest he’ll suddenly be a reliable finisher. That said, if there’s a player poised to benefit purely from a shift in playing style under Emery, it could be Mkhitaryan, who will likely have similar opportunities to those just described regarding Aubameyang.

The likeliest answer to the question posed to start this piece is that unfortunately Arsenal probably doesn’t have a Golden Boot contender as currently constructed. Lacazette and Aubameyang can certainly get into the mix though, and don’t sleep on Mkhitaryan to improve his scoring output even if it’s not on league-leading sort of level.