Alexandre Lacazette is a player known for the occasional strop during matches and when being substituted. During the 1-1 draw against Sheffield United, he threw yet another act of frustration after being hauled off for academy product Eddie Nketiah 15 minutes from the end. It was an act which ran much deeper.
The Frenchman is currently under going pretty bad spell in front of goal. It is now eight league games without since scoring against Brighton at the start of December. As a result, his future at the Emirates is now being called into question.
Where is this Alexandre Lacazette ? ?? pic.twitter.com/r0wCd4dxNp
— DammitArsenal? (@DammitArsenal) January 20, 2020
With Eddie Nketiah back from his unsuccessful loan spell at Leeds, hoping to prove a point under Mikel Arteta and Gabriel Martinelli continuing to impress in his first season in the English top-flight, Lacazette’s position as Arsenal’s main frontman is under serious threat.
It may have been an unfruitful season for the club last campaign, but for Lacazette on a personal level, it was an unforgettable one. Scoring 19 goals and assisting 13 in all competitions, he was awarded Arsenal’s player of the season last year, becoming the sides chief creative force and arguably their most influential attacker at no.9. The striker had been as affected as anyone else by the collective decline that ultimately cost Unai Emery his job.
His contribution towards Arsenal’s gradual resurgence under Arteta can’t be overlooked despite his poor run in front of goal. His sumptuous assist for Aubameyang in their 1-1 draw away to Crystal Palace was a further indication as to how vital he is to Arsenal’s attacking play.
The way in which he holds off his marker bringing others into play, his strength, tenacity and energy when pressing from the front and his never-say die attitude are characteristics that have endeared himself to the Arsenal faithful. Though, when in the form he is currently in, snatching at chances and failing to finish off intricate passing moves, you can almost forgive the fans for turning against him. There is always gonna be pressure leading the line for Arsenal, especially when you cost the best part of £50million. Now, there will be more pressure without Aubameyang.
There is the argument that in order for Lacazette to improve his form, he must focus less on trying to accommodate others, overworking himself dribbling, tackling and putting himself about lessening his influence in front of goal. He must become more ruthless and selfish in search of a goal.
Lacazette has certainly evolved in recent seasons, no longer is he an out-an-out striker latching onto the end of passes, or playing on the shoulder of the last defender, he is now taking on the role of a withdrawn forward who is actively involved in attacking build-up rather than getting into the right positions to finish off attacking moves. Whether its a good or a bad thing, it’s certainly affecting his abilities to score regularly.
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More than anything, it is a lack of confidence and sharpness that has defined his difficulties this season. Though, he is not far away from hitting top form. No striker in the world let alone Europe is immune from a barren spell. It is noticeable that, in terms of his statistical output, he has barely dipped from last year. Lacazette is creating more chances for his teammates per game, and providing more key passes in comparison to last season [WhoScored].
Perhaps it is unfair to judge him solely on his goal scoring. It’s become clear that there is more to him than meets the eye. His all round game and defensive work from the front is earning as many plaudits as his goalscoring output. While Aubameyang is viewed as the predator, Lacazette offers more in his game and adds an inherent ability to bring the best out of the players around him.
Now, rather than Lacazette becoming the sole-creator, his teammates can do more to help him to form. He needs the likes of Pepe, Martinelli, Ozil, Reiss Nelson to improve the consistency in their chance creation. It’s not a worry when you’re squandering chances, it is a worry however, if a no.9 isn’t on the end of them.
Lacazette maybe lacking his predatory instincts in front of goal right now, but he is offering so much more. He holds the character, drive and personality to reignite his goal scoring prowess. Patience – a rare commodity in modern day football – is certainly required.