Arsenal manager Unai Emery claims strikers Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are among the finest he has worked with.
Emery built and nurtured his reputation at Valencia, Sevilla and Paris Saint-Germain, where David Villa, Fernando Morientes, Kylian Mbappe, Edinson Cavani and Neymar were established among Europe’s leading forwards.
Although inheriting an uncertain defence at Arsenal, in Lacazette and Aubameyang he has been working with two prolific goalscorers whose understanding is improving by the week.
Their combined 37 goals have the Gunners on course for a return to the Champions League, with victory at Everton on Sunday moving the club a step closer to an ambition that at the season’s start perhaps looked beyond them.
Discussing the talented strikers he has worked with – although neglecting to mention Neymar with whom he had a strained relationship at PSG – Emery said: “I had at Valencia, Villa and Morientes; (Roberto) Soldado and (Aritz) Aduriz.
“I had at Sevilla (Kevin) Gameiro and (Carlos) Bacca. I had at Paris Saint-Germain, Cavani and Mbappe. Here I have Aubameyang and ‘Laca’. It’s perfect.
“Each striker has his qualities and characteristics but one is similar. They are strikers and score a lot of goals. All of them.
“That’s Villa, (Alvaro) Negredo, Carlos Bacca, Gameiro, Cavani, Morientes, and Soldado, and now here, Lacazette and Aubameyang. It’s the same.
“We need a lot of good passes, good crosses, to give them the best option to score in the box. We can be proud that both are with us.”
Explaining the choices open to him, he added; “Sometimes you need to play both, with two strikers, and sometimes you can play with one player wide, and sometimes you can play with another on the bench.
“Aubameyang and Lacazette, I am very happy with them. They are scoring, they are playing both (roles).
“In training, I said to them, ‘When I have one ball, I imagine you’ll score one goal, every time. Score, score, score’. That’s my mentality. I push them with this. That’s the best development for them and for the team.”
Aaron Ramsey is expected to start at Goodison Park following his return to training after a groin injury, strengthening Emery’s options as Laurent Koscielny and Granit Xhaka are facing late fitness tests.
Asked about Ramsey’s summer transfer to Juventus, after their forward Moise Kean was racially abused by Cagliari supporters and initially not supported by team-mate Leonardo Bonucci, the 47-year-old replied: “I’m against racism.
“Aaron Ramsey is a professional, he’s also against racism. He can play here, he can play in Italy, he can play for Juventus.”
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