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Playing two upfront becoming a viable approach again in the Premier League

The Premier League remains Europe’s most international, multicultural top-flight league in terms of players and managers, and yet somehow there often seems to be a distinctly old-school feel to the football. For instance, Pep Guardiola has spoken of the importance of coping with winning second balls, while Jurgen Klopp has spoken about the need to deal with the inclement weather.

Tactically, things are somewhat different: We’re in the age of false nines and gegenpressing, rather than long balls and the use of 4-4-2 formations. But the past couple of weeks have felt like something of a throwback, with various sides using two centre-forwards upfront together, often with great success.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

The most interesting example came the weekend before last, in the contest between Arsenal and Manchester United at the Emirates. This fixture always stirs up memories of the 1990s, and tactically both sides started the contest with two forwards, albeit in very different formats. Arsenal started with a 3-4-1-2, featuring Mesut Ozil behind Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, while Manchester United began with a 4-4-2 featuring Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford, numbers 9 and 10 respectively.6

These remain the principle two ways to deploy a two-man strike force, especially because the midfield diamond — as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has occasionally used this season — now largely means the two forwards are starting from the flanks, too far apart to combine regularly. The difference, of course, was that Arsenal had a designated playmaker conducting things from behind the lines, while Manchester United’s duo needed to cope by themselves.

Arsenal’s back three, in theory, should have been capable of coping with two strikers, but Rashford and Lukaku appeared to be on the same wavelength. They may not be quite at the level of Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole yet, although the familiar sight of Solskjaer on the bench offers a link between the two that the manager will surely mention.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

Lacazette and Aubameyang have a curious relationship. Off the pitch they’re extremely close; on the pitch they can function together in the same side, although their combination play isn’t particularly notable, and there are questions about whether the 3-4-1-2 suits Arsenal’s other players. Ozil hasn’t particularly thrived in his No. 10 role, despite that being his best position on paper.