Arteta keen to rebuild Lacazette’s confidence

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Mikel Arteta says he likes what Alex Lacazette brings to the team but admits the Frenchman has endured a ‘difficult’ season so far.

After scoring 19 goals and making 13 assists in 3,327 minutes last season, the Frenchman was rightly voted the club’s player of the year. Popular on the terraces and hard-working on the pitch, he looked to be delivering on his big price tag.

2019/20 has been very different. He carried an ankle problem into the season which eventually ruled him out for a few games and on his return he looked rusty leading the line in a side that was starting to fall apart. Having been a mainstay of Unai Emery’s starting lineups, he was less fancied by Freddie who started him on the bench for three games in a row.

Mikel Arteta initially gave Lacazette plenty of opportunities – he started the first seven games of the Spaniard’s tenure – but after failing to score in any of them, it was little surprise when he turned to other options.

Even before the Covid-19 lockdown, Eddie Nketiah was increasingly preferred from the off and that continued on Wednesday at Manchester City when football made its return. More time on the bench has led to more speculation about his future with Atletico Madrid – long-standing admirers – said to be weighing up a move.

So what does the boss make of Lacazette? Does he have a future at the club? And how do you rebuild a player’s confidence? Those were the questions posed in his pre-Brighton press conference.

“Alex is a player that I always liked,” said Arteta. “He’s the type of striker who can do a bit of everything.

“He’s very talented at combining and linking with each other. The work rate and the way he competes for every ball, it’s rare to find [that] in a striker. And then he has this ability to put the ball in the back of the net when he’s in front of goal.

“It has been a difficult season for him and not just for him but for other players too. We’ve been trying to manage that. He had a lot of continuity with me but he had a spell where he was finding it difficult to score goals.

“In the last few weeks (before lockdown) he looked much better and was a threat and he scored some important goals as well. I want to give him confidence, game time.

“I think the way he came on against City in a really difficult scenario, he showed a lot of willingness to help his teammates and team…I am happy for him. We have two strikers that have to fight for their places and I want that type of competition within the squad.”

He added: “Everybody needs it [confidence] and a striker probably more than any other player on the pitch.

“At the end, confidence is related to the amount of goals they score per minutes. At the end, they can do everything very good but they get judged on the amount of goals they are scoring.”

It seems strange to be saying it, given how important he was last season, but if we’re looking to raise funds this summer to reinvest in other areas or contract extensions, Lacazette seems like a decent candidate. His current deal ends in 2022 which means we’ve got some leverage with interested parties and he’s still got a few years ahead of him.

Obviously, there are a lot of moving parts when it comes to a squad rebuild, not least the future of his good pal Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Like so many players in the squad, there’s an air of uncertainty over their future and that’s far from ideal with important games to come.

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Kiwamya

We have two strikers that have to fight for their places and I want that type of competition within the squad.”

Interesting statement, presume he’s talking about Laca and Eddie, with Arteta not considering Auba as a central striker and only considering him for the left wing role?

Does this cause possible knock on effects for Saka and Martinelli too?

Santori

Just play him FFS.   We will need him as likely we will sell Aubameyang.   So he will be the senior striker for another season with Martinelli and Nketiah under his wings.   The market for strikers is going to be difficult for us so we will need to rely on these 3 plus sufficient creative reinforcements in midfield. We are not generating enough chances let alone shots.   As I mentioned, Pepe for 72m has been hit and miss this season. Saka and Nelson still comparatively young.   Would like to see us try and get Ziyech (Overmars… Read more »

Nick

Emre can has already agreed to join dortmund on a permanent deal. he will not be signing for arsenal.

David Hillier's luggage

Ziyech signed for Chelsea back in Feb.

Olar

By putting him on the bench for Eddie

Qwaliteee

I agree. If he was fit enough to be considered for the squad, Laca’s experience should have have meant that he started against Manchester City. Eddie’s time will undoubtedly come. He would have been perfect to introduce from the bench. I respect Mikel Arteta enormously, but in my opinion he made a few glaring mistakes up at City with his team selection.

Artetas Assistant

You have to sort your issues out before you demand trust from your loved ones, your crisis of confidence already hurt them more than they communicate to you, so quit feeling sorry for yourself. Figure it out and Sort your issues out yourself, don’t drag everybody down and blame people. Your issue is your issue. I don’t know who needs to hear this but You’re actually to blame for Whatever you’re going through in life, it’s your fault. Stop hurting others because of your issues ?

Andy

I wonder if Laca lost some confidence right at the start when he scored after 5 mins on his debut, had a promising game, then was promptly dropped for the away game at Liverpool.

Lanre

Am beginning to think this guy is full of shit. All talk and bluster. You want to build his confidence yet you throw out of the team for a kid who was called back from loan.

Artetas Assistant

So all the people that have thrown you out of their lives because of your lack of confidence should bring you back and breastfeed you until you ‘tell yourself’ to sit up and stop feeling sorry for yourself ? This is Arsenal son, we are a pack of worldclass dogs in a competitive game. Take that low-energied shii into your room and vacuum it ‘yourself’ before you come out to play with us or a hungry kid will take your bread. Sobbing kid, your loss of confidence is nobody’s fault, Masters streamline their process and keep going even when they… Read more »

Con

He hobbles around like an old man, occasionally shanking the ball into the second tier.

Sell to A. Madrid, replace with the multifaceted Edouard.

Shool14

So then why not play him? I’m sorry but I’m not convinced with Eddie, seems really average at best. Laca is a proper close to WC level striker, need to start him

And why is he saying 2 strikers? Will Auba never play striker again? ?

bob

He probably will play him, maybe today, but I trust Arteta to have a better idea of these guys fitness. Coming off such a break I can see if some are going to not be seen as ready for 90 mins just yet. We have a lot of games in a short time, so stop second guessing the coaching staffs information, the squad will play and rotate for sure.

100% Ambazonian

Arteta is certainly a good communicator. Seems to be saying all the right things but unfortunately he has not been matching his words with the right actions / decisions.