Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Wenger: No reassurance for Lacazette

Arsene Wenger says his squad have to accept that they operate in a competitive environment and that he’ll not be offering reassurances to Alexandre Lacazette just because he’s signed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

The Frenchman broke Arsenal’s transfer record to land his compatriot from Lyon in the summer only to break it a second time this week to recruit the Gabon international from Borussia Dortmund.

Lacazette is the Gunners top scorer this season with nine goals, however, he’s struggled in recent weeks leading to suggestions that he could be benched in favour of the new boy.

“I don’t reassure people,” Wenger told press ahead of Arsenal’s game with Everton.

“We are in a competitive world. We have all chosen a job where it’s about competition, you have to fight for your places.

“You have to show the players respect and that you rate them but as well, they have to accept that we live in a competitive world.”

Despite his bullish attitude, Wenger made clear that there is more than enough room in his squad for two top-class strikers despite his proclivity for starting most games with a single attacker leading the line.

“We can play two up as well and one up. You forget that we lost three strikers. We lost Walcott, we lost Sanchez, we lost Giroud so you should understand why I brought at least one in.”

He added: “You need at least two top strikers to play in the Premier League because if one is injured you have a problem.”

On whether he could field Mesut Ozil and Lacazette alongside Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Aubameyang, he went on: “It’s always possible. Will I do it? I don’t know. I think it’s possible, yes.

“The motivation is to win the next game. It does not depend too much on who plays. The target is as well, to find a balance that allows everybody individually to express his talent.”

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I don’t see Wenger starting all four (Lacazette, Mikhitaryn, Ozil and Aubameyang) anytime soon. He is right in that the squad needs competition in all areas, especially up top. If someone isn’t getting it done they need to know there are others the manager will play in their place.

Too Drunk For Offside

Feel there is a need to play 4-4-2 now.

Laca P-E A upfront

Ozil Mikhi on the wings or perhaps even two att mids in the middle with width coming from the WBs.

Jack Xhaka in the middle and the back 4 of Monreal Bellerin Kos and Mustafi.


Xhaka should never start again. He’s too slow and too easy to dribble past. Maitland-Niles or Elneny are more valuable at this point.

Too Drunk For Offside

If the thumbs down are for Xhaka then fine play Eleneny. Or how about playing that holding midfielder that Arsenal should hv signed a decade back.

Cliff Bastin

4-1-2-1-2 Auba and Laca up top, Ozil behind them, Miki and Jack in midfield, Elneny anchoring.


…matt macey
Vs Everton I don’t think wenger will start Auba so this is my 11 vs Everton
…Matt Macey

Greg in Seattle

This, please. Mostly the Elneny anchoring part. These complaints about his “sideways passes” miss the point about the chief attributes you want from this position: focus, positional awareness, smart combativeness, and the athleticism to touch every blade of grass.

Curious to see if AMN is all that plus something more with the ball. But that’s secondary to simply having an anchor.


I think the more that AMN may bring, when he’s ready, is greater speed and more aggressive tackling, which is my main problem with Elneny. He covers the right spaces but often isn’t strong or aggressive enough for the PL. He looks to be improving in that dept; but AMN has the greater upside.


Xhaka has let one (5 or 6) too many people run past him unmarked onto goal. Sit him on the bench


he should be starting all four though. what’s the point of leaving your best players on the bench?

Naan Bread

Injuries, I suppose. They are most potent attacking cards. Plus PEA is cup tied in Europa.. so he should play in Premier League.
Better to press Lacazette there with NKetiah and Welbeck as backup or the second striker

Naan Bread

*better to press Lacazette in Europa League


Something tells me Wenger didn’t have my Ch say in the transfers. First thing is they actually happened and there isn’t an obvious formation that can fit them all in as we have a shit defence and no defensive midfielders. Elneny is as close as we have and he is ??

Chippys chip

How about if defenders or keepers dont get it done?? Oh… but they dont. First line of defence is attack. Its not just defenders that need defensive coaching its the whole team.


They can all play in multiple positions and there are lots of games so I don’t see it being a problem …

SB Still

Let’s get on with playing football and winning games again.

I don’t have much hopes for Cech’s 200th league clean sheet. Maybe we’ll see more of 4-2, 5-3 in our favour.


Would quite enjoy Theo to score so everyone could chant his name, so long as we win, of course.


a 90th minute consolation goal when we’re 3-0 up?


6-0 up


Screw that, don’t care if were 30 – 0 up and playing the local high school football team. I never want the opposition to score.


I am incredibly excited and nervous in equal measure – love the new signings but it all feels a bit without a plan. Hopefully the earlier comments about defending are going to reciprocate on the training ground. Let’s hope we get off to a cracking start by spanking Everton on Saturday ??

Man Manny

Why is Xhaka seemingly untouchable?


He has pictures of stan without his hairpiece on.


“You need at least two top strikers to play in the Premier League because if one is injured you have a problem.”
How i miss seeing Sanogo as Giroud’s backup 😛

sixteen swans

That wasn’t so long ago which just shows how we’ve strengthened the squad over the last few seasons.

Our current problem isn’t in the top third, it’s Mustafi, Xhaka, and to a lesser extent in goal. I wish that Wenger would consider AMN or Kolasinac in midfield and Mavropanos next to Koscielny. Elneny can’t do everything himself and Xhaka and Mustafi are our most consistent defensive liabilities. Something needs to give if we’re not going to end up sixth this season.


Hopefully in a couple of years time, like with our attack now,we will look back and laugh at how awful our midfield and defense has been. Hopefully.


Kola would be a disaster in midfield. He has a (relatively) poor touch and is a low-percentage passer. He’d cough the ball up in bad spaces leading to even more goals scored against us than currently.

And you have zero idea if Mavropanos is ready for the first team or not (or did you regularly scout him in Greece?).

sixteen swans

On Mavropanos? Fuck no. I’m grasping at defensive straws.

Given that he didn’t go out on loan as he was supposed to – extrapolation … he can’t be too bad … aka … he might be better than Mustafi … aka … WTF, what have we got to lose.

Flint McFrankoff

Remember when we had Lord Bendtner & Chamakh as our 2 strikers.

Still got 4th

Indian Gooner

It surprises me that a lot of people have writtern Lacazette off already. Yes he is taking his time to adjust to a new team and a new league but I am sure he will be alright. He has got a lot of good qualities in him and he will for sure be great for us. I don’t know about the others but I am sure as hell excited to have both Laca and Auba in our team.

David C

I don’t think everyone is writing him off yet, but he is very small and so surprisingly slow…not what we thought we were signing.

Would have loved to see Laca and Giroud in a race!


I wouldn’t necessarily call him slow and for someone his size, his hold up play is actually decent.
Somehow i get the feeling that he is probably the one whose game has been affected the most by sanchez’s departure.


Like Walcott before him, his strengths are not so easily understood when playing against ultra defensive teams with 10 men behind the ball. Quite why Wenger hasn’t set us up to play in a full counter attack, rope a dope style, I have no idea. We’re perfectly suited to it.


I get hyperbole, but come on: he’s way faster than OG.

He’s looked slow a few times in the last few games, but I think that’s as much down to frustration and lack of confidence at such continued poor service, so he’s been on his heels a bit when the ball does finally get played through.

He’s not an out-and-out speedster like Auba or Henry or young Theo, but then neither was Ian Wright. Or Harry Kane. Or Kun Aguero.

Man Manny

It’s likely going to be a three of Mkhi, Ozil, and Auba or Laca in the starting line-ups. If every one is fit, that is.


As we don’t have a classic winger in our squad isn’t there a possibility that we could play a 4-3-3 with 2 more or less defensive midfielders, Özil as a number 10, Micky on the right wing and Lacazette and Aubameyang interchanging between number 9 and the left wing? Think it would give us great variety up front. Or a 4-2-2-2. With Aubameyang and Lacazette up front, Özil and Micky in behind and 2 players that are able to protect our back 4. Or a 4-4-2 with a diamond midfield. You would then have Özil on the number 10 spot,… Read more »


Your first suggestion is how I set the team up in FIFA and wow I am now incredible!


Just need to try it on Football Manager…


Love the idea of a 4-4-2 with the diamond – that would be an exciting line up indeed. The only challenge would be who to shoe in out of Mhiki, Jack and Ramsey. Iwobi and Welbeck have some hard work to do to get back into the team right now.


Jack and Mikki over Rambo for me.


The team that I used to coach use this 442 diamong formation all the time. As expected, we win some and we loose some.
But get give it a go. You never know, might work very well.


Going by how we have been playing this season, i don’t think we do formations anymore. More like a GK, 2 at the back and then free role for everyone else.

I am a big fan of 4-4-2 diamond though i think we need a proper a midfielder and solid CBs for that to work. Moreover i still don’t think Wenger will play 2 upfront unless we are chasing games.


I think the formation we play will depend on the availability and fitness of the personnel and the opposition. I must admit i have been really impressed with Wenger’s tactics since last season when Big Sam came out and made those comments after our defeat to Crystal Palace. We can do 3-4-3, 4-2-3-1, 4-2-2-2, 4-3-3, 4-4-2(diamond). I just can’t see us going to 4-4-2 of the Invincible era because the game is different now with full backs overlapping. One thing i can’t see him do is drop Xhaka in any formation we play. I think Xhaka is the first name… Read more »


“I think Xhaka is the first name on the team sheet these days.”

Did Arsenal hire a Pace Coach?
Because if Xhaka gets quite a bit faster?
The defence could improve immeasurably.



I think the defence needs to adopt the 4C’s appoach.
1. Concentration
2. Commitment (in duels)
3. Communication
4. Caution (Especially when we are 1-0 up against a team who have pacy wingers/forwards).

Lack of Perspective

And stop playing like 4 c’s would be nice


yeah, I think you pretty much nail it. Any of those 3 could work (personally I’d go with 4-2-2-2, but I think it’d look like a 4-3-3 quite often, as Micky tucks into midfield and Ozil pushes up on the wing, or vice versa). but I’m worried that Wenger doesn’t see it this way and I’m worried for Lacazette. if Wenger still values him then sitting him on the bench as soon as Auba comes in is just going to kill his already fragile confidence. and if he’s already unhappy with and lost faith in him, then that’s very poor… Read more »


Q: Are you inclined to go back to two attackers upfront or will you stick to one as you’ve done in recent years?
A: It is possible, yes


I think Laca has been harshly criticised in certain corners of the press – sure he hasn’t scored the number of goals he/we would have liked, but that’s mainly down to the lack of service to him. He makes so many runs that Xhaka fails to spot or isn’t brave enough to attempt. Must drive him mad!


Exactly! Xhaka misses a lot of runs to deliver a ball over the top. He is more comfortable passing it side ways or crossing to other flank. Drives me nuts all the time.


Hehehe… love how welbeck never crossed his mind during this discussion


Even Welbeck knows he is not a first team material 🙂


I can see laca playing on the right some of the time. He works hard and has pretty quick feet but a little lacking in presence at CF


We will see a much better Laca with Aubameyang in the team because it seemed like he was under pressure for a while now. It’s always good when 2 good strikers are playing because 1 can always distract defenders while making space for the other.

Matt Farr

“You need at least two top strikers to play in the Premier League”

Welbeck burn.


4 – 3 – 1 – 2
This will be the Ateam…


Take XHaka out. AMN/Ramsey/Elneny…. any of them are better than Xhaka.


Name me one top manager who won’t start all four



Rwandan gooner

Wenger’s responses to the questions shows you that he is the boss and also a bit stubborn. The combo for Lacazette, Auba, Ozil and Mikhi should be tested. It looks dangerous on paper



Godfrey Twatsloch

So the poor bloke signs from a club where he does well, has issues of the regular kind settling into the PL while not really getting the service his style of playing requires and the answer is to bench him?


So when Aubameyang has the same issues, which he’ll be likely to have, he’ll be benched too? Is that how this will work?


£10 Lacazette will leave in the summer. He is the new Lucas.

Godfrey Twatsloch

Well if that happened it would just be plain wrong.


Iwobi ozil laca
Mhki elneny wilshire
Kolasinac monreal Kos bellerin

Elneny don’t go to the other half ,iwobi track back,wilshire and mhki at least one have an eye on our defence,laca if possible shoot,If we get a lead our wing backs stay at defence.
And pls don’t try fancy passes inside our own penalty box .
And no sideways passing pleaseeeee


Not sure you thought that line up through….


Then why is ramsey assured of a place no matter how crap he is? Xhaka too.

Godfrey Twatsloch

Personally I believe in Xhaka. He showed good form when he turned up plus he had a glowing reference from the Bundesliga. The question is why is he not performing for us? Is it him or is it down to how he’s managed?

I’m more sceptical of Ramsey but the same question is called for. I’ve seen him play well for Wales and sometimes he does really well. So why is he not the complete player he should be by this point? Him or management?

Chippys chip

Its the management. How many great players and potentially great players have ended up, well, just not that great?

Chippys chip

Who buys those players, controls them, coaches them, motivates them, (or not) and picks the team with no tactics or variety according to opposition??

Godfrey Twatsloch

The question isn’t rhetorical, I think it’s management as well.

So we’re bringing in good players. They should be able to compete with the rest of the top 4-6 teams but they’re not. To me that’s almost scandalous.

Chippys chip

Not almost, most definately IS.


We have to play 4-4-2 legendary formation keeping wilshere on defencive midfield and either xhaka or ramsey at other side……and use our new attacking force LMAO playing ozil and mikhi on right and left flank…….. and also i think we bought kolasinac as a defender so he must be given chance to play as a CB….


Can’t believe he’s talking about earning your spot while he still plays Xhaka. The very definition of tone deaf hypocrisy.


Maybe, like so many before him, Xhaka ain’t half as bad as some people will have you believe.

Paulo Cuntchops

“We are in a competitive world. We have all chosen a job where it’s about competition, you have to fight for your places.” Easy for Wenger to say when terrible performances and sliding down the league don’t result in you getting sacked like they would at any other club.


I want to be wrong here, but I feel Auba is also going to stagnet like Laca. Both need space to run in. Auba needs even more space than Laca as Laca is very comfortable on the ball. Auba is more of a counter attacking player. There are very few teams who press us for us to play counter attacking football. And with kind of deliveries or the lack of them for runs it doesn’t look Auba is going to flourish here.
I hope I am wrong.


If only Arsene was fighting for his place.

…since he has chosen a job where it’s about competition, you have to fight for your place.


Let’s hope all of the players get no ‘reassurance’ and with no Favourites the match day team should be based on current form. (Injuries allowing) Competition for places should be through out the team including the goalkeeper. It is a squad game and a long season, to often some of our players are played to much and brake down while others don’t get a look in so when called on are short of confidence and match sharpness.


I don’t know why he can’t start Aubameyang up front, Mkhitaryan on the right, Lacazette on the left in Alexis’ place, and Ozil in behind in the 10 position. Then Jack and Elneny in midfield to remain more defensive minded, and then the back 4 of Bellerin, Koscielny, Mustafi, and Monreal. Actually, I would prefer either Chambers or Holding in Mustafi’s place. Then of course, I believe we really need to find a replacement for Cech. I know it won’t happen this season, but we have to do something in goal by next season. As I have said on many… Read more »


No it’s not, Arsene. The target is as well to find a balance that allows everybody AS A TEAM to express THEIR COLLECTIVE talent!


I mean we had Bergkamp and Henry play at the same time, why not Laca and PEA?


How about letting them play together Arsene!

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