Arsenal addressed a number of outstanding squad issues over the summer.
Mikel Arteta’s centre-back options were strengthened by Gabriel Magalhaes’ arrival from Lille, Willian added Premier League-winning pedigree while Thomas Partey was snapped up in a serious statement of intent with the Ghanaian expected to elevate the club’s midfield.
In another important piece of business, captain and goalscorer-in-chief Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang signed a new three-year deal, easing fears over his future with his previous deal due to expire in 2021.
One area that remained untouched, however, was Arteta’s options at the head of his attack, leaving the Spaniard with three main candidates for the role: Alexandre Lacazette, Eddie Nketiah and Gabriel Martinelli.
Aubameyang, of course, is capable of performing such a role, but with his ability to score regularly from the left flank, a change of position should not be forthcoming for the Gabon international.
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And with Martinell’s return not yet known following the knee injury that has kept the Brazilian out since March, Nketiah and Lacazette will fight to become Arteta’s first-choice striker.
Judging by the first month of this season, the Arsenal boss is not yet 100 per cent certain who he prefers in the role. While Lacazette lined up in attack against Fulham, West Ham United and Liverpool, Nketiah was preferred for the visit of Sheffield United to the Emirates Stadium, before neither started against Manchester City.
Neither player would have been feeling great after that, with Willian and Nicolas Pepe preferred instead.
Both Nketiah and Lacazette got their seasons up and running early. While Lacazette bagged goals in his first two games of the season, against Fulham and West Ham, Nketiah came off the bench to score a late winner against the Hammers.