Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang: New Arsenal Attack Can Match Liverpool's Front 3

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistAugust 23, 2019

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 17: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Arsenal celebrates scoring Arsenal's second goal with Alexandre Lacazette of Arsenal during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Burnley FC at Emirates Stadium on August 17, 2019 in London, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Kaz Photography/Getty Images)
Kaz Photography/Getty Images

Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang believes the arrival of club-record signing Nicolas Pepe means the Gunners' front three can now match Liverpool's attack ahead of Saturday's trip to Anfield.

Unai Emery's side travel to Merseyside on Saturday as joint-Premier League leaders alongside the Reds—they are the only two teams to have won both of their top-flight games this season. However, Arsenal have lost by a margin of four goals in each of their past two visits to face Liverpool.

Pepe joined Arsenal from Lille for €80 million (£72 million) in August, and Aubameyang told Sky Sports' Oliver Yew he is looking forward to the 24-year-old joining him and Alexandre Lacazette in the forward line:

"It is going to be crazy—everybody is excited. I am looking forward to it.

"As we've seen from last season, Liverpool play with three up front, and they play very well. Why not us? I think we can do it.

"It will be a tough game against them. They are great players. They always try to go forward and try to get goals and assist each other. They are one of the best trios in the world.

"I see a lot of similarities. Pepe and me, we are quick players like (Sadio) Mane and (Mohamed) Salah, while Laca is a player who can keep the ball and is really good with his feet like (Roberto) Firmino. So yes, we can say we are close enough."

Pepe came on for second-half substitute appearances in games against Newcastle United and Burnley, and he impressed in 45 minutes against the Clarets in Week 2.

Emery spoke at a press conference on Thursday and hinted the trip to Anfield could see Pepe start in Arsenal colours for the first time, as Hayters TV shared:

Hayters TV @HaytersTV

Unai Emery hints Nicolas Pepe could be in line for his full @Arsenal debut at Anfield ✨ Watch Unai Emery's full press conference 👉 https://t.co/KXM3VwCCLc https://t.co/qemv7ld2oD

There are some distinctions between the two front-three setups. Salah and Mane are natural wingers who have refined their finishing ability, whereas Aubameyang is a striker who is often moved wide to accommodate Lacazette. It's unclear whether that shift can work to the same effect against the elite teams.

Retired forwards Karen Carney and Clinton Morrison each praised the new-look Arsenal attack on BBC 5 Live Sport:

BBC 5 Live Sport @5liveSport

🔥 'Their frontline is probably the best in the league' @karenjcarney can't wait to see Aubameyang, Lacazette & Pepe all play together. How will #AFC fare in the Premier League this season? Listen to all the #NEWARS build up 👇 📲⚽️: https://t.co/0kUniWPgQm #5LivePremSunday https://t.co/nxpYoDSgVv

Salah (22 goals), Mane (22) and Firmino (12) scored 56 Premier League goals between them last season, a little less than two-thirds of Liverpool's total (89 goals).

Aubameyang (22 goals), Lacazette (13) and Pepe (22 Ligue 1 goals) produced a total of 57 combined league goals last season. Much will depend on whether Pepe can translate that strike rate to England, but the signs are there to suggest they can compete with Liverpool on the attacking front.

The former Borussia Dortmund ace also complimented Pepe individually and explained one particular advantage he has going for him entering the Arsenal attack:

"First of all, he speaks French, so it will be easy for him to settle in and play with us. He only started training with us a few weeks ago, but it's good to have him with us. He's started well.  

"Last season he was amazing. He'll bring us speed and excellent finishing, and that's good for us."

Journalist James Benge also raised expectations for the Gunners front three, speaking to Love Sport Radio:

Love Sport Radio @lovesportradio

🔴 @jamesbenge thinks that Arsenal's front line of Aubameyang, Lacazette & Pepe is better than anything Man United, Chelsea or even Spurs have to offer this season. #AFC 📞 WhatsApp - 0208 70 20 558 📲 Listen - https://t.co/XWhRQh9myF https://t.co/JS8EHJ8A8k

Emery needs more than just a talented attack if his team are to beat the European champions away from home on Saturday, with Liverpool having upgraded more than just their forward line in recent years.