Gary Neville has hailed the decisive influence of Arsenal’s £100m strike partnership after the Gunners’ 2-0 victory against Manchester United on Sunday, claiming that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette “won the game” for Arsenal.
Unai Emery started with both Aubameyang and Lacazette up front at the Emirates, and the duo paid dividends in the 69th minute. Lacazette drew a penalty after minimal contact with Fred, and Aubameyang atoned for his miss against Spurs to give Arsenal a 2-0 lead.
Neville, who played for United for nearly two decades, lauded Arsenal‘s strikers as the crucial difference between the two sides.
As quoted by the Express, the Sky Sports pundit said: “Lacazette won the penalty – I personally didn’t think it was a penalty, but there’s no doubt Lacazette was clever, he just stepped in front of Fred with a little burst of speed, and then he went over as he felt the contact.
“They won the game. Lacazette and Aubameyang being on the pitch won the game for Arsenal.”
He added: “You point towards that first half an hour, Lacazette and Aubameyang got the better of [Chris] Smalling and [Victor] Lindelof.
“I point back to my experience under Sir Alex Ferguson. He used to say ‘if your centre-halves haven’t got hold of the opposition centre-forwards, you’ve always got a real problem in a game’.
“It was a case of which goalkeeper played best and which strikers took their chances, and Arsenal won that.”
Aubameyang and Lacazette have combined for 29 Premier League goals this season, with the former second in the golden boot race with 17 strikes, but questions have been asked about the duo’s ability to play together.
Those questions may have been answered on Sunday as Arsenal claimed a crucial three points in the race for the top four. The victory has catapulted Emery’s men into fourth place while also inflicting a first domestic defeat on United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.