Friday, February 23, 2024

Lacazette: We don’t have to rely on the youngsters

Goals from David Luiz, Alex Lacazette and Nicolas Pepe and an eye-catching performance from Willian helped a much rotated Arsenal come from behind to beat Leicester 3-1 at the King Power.

After the match, the French striker said he was pleased with the focused performance and said it’s proof the Gunners don’t have to always rely on their next generation to provide moments of magic.

Here’s what he said to BT Sport after the game…

On the mood in the camp off the back of two wins…

It’s really good, we want to come back at the top of the league as high as possible. We know we had to do some consecutive wins to come back and today we really wanted to win and we did it well, I think.

On the best part of the performance…

The reaction after the goal we conceded. everyone kept focused, we stuck to the game plan and when everyone is like this it’s easier to win games.

On the senior players stepping up…

I think it’s important that everyone plays well. Recently, we talk a lot about the youngsters who play really, really well for the team but as well, the senior players, need to be ready, to be good. We don’t have to rely only on the youngsters. When everyone is focused and good, it’s easier for Arsenal.

On recognising the need to play well…

Sure. We need to play, we need to play well. Everyone wants to play, so we have to perform really well to show to the coach that we deserve [chances] and after it’s up to the coach to decide.

On needing to go on a run…

We know it’s really important now. We have March, April and May to finish well. I think these two wins are going to give a lot of confidence to the team because we’ve come back from losing games. It’s good for the team, for the spirit, the mood, for everything.

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Really pleased with the win and the fighting spirit in the team. What’s with Martinelli, though?

Johnny 4 Hats

I’m getting a bit concerned about Arteta’s handling of our young players. Yes, he clearly loves Saka, ESR and now Odegaard. 

But Nketiah and Nelson are getting zero game time and surely needed a January loan move as they are stagnating at present, their value plummeting with each team sheet. But even more concerning, we have a dynamic and super talented player on the bench who will surely be demoralised and frustrated by now. 

Play Martinelli! He scores goals and always contributes. Ok, he’ll make mistakes. But he’s young. Let him make them. 


My guess, Arteta likes a structured team with players playing to his plan and Martinelli doesn’t offer the same as Saka, ESR or Odeegard? He obviously sees something in training. We’ll soon find out.


Martinelli is offers way too much energy than what Arteta likes. I thought today he should’ve rested Auba and gave Martinelli those min. It seems like something is wrong behind the scenes and I’m suspicious of Arteta. As much as I like Arteta I don’t trust Arteta with talented Youngsters. And some of the excuses he gives are not convincing and sometimes make no sense almost as if he’s lying but we don’t know for sure what’s going on. It just doesn’t look right or feel right Martinelli is even rotated and given min as if he is not in… Read more »

Tomaury Bischfeld

In the case of Nketiah and Nelson, it could just be that they’re not good enough. Nketiah hasn’t impressed me at all and Nelson has never set the world on fire (needs a good loan). Martinelli though…just don’t see why he wouldn’t get at least a 10 min patch in a game like this. Would hate to see the guy want out because we’re undervaluing his talent.

Johnny 4 Hats

Yeah. I think you might be right. But all the more reason to loan them both out and try and raise their profile and their value.

Viv the 🐐

To play devils advocat a bit, I think partially with Martinelli, it has to do with trying to overloading Gabriel after his Injury and his warm up-scare afterwards. I think, Arteta used every chance to get Willian going, to get him into form, because there are games, like the EL or today, which are very important and he wants to rely here on the “experienced” players. And the same with Laca and Auba, he maybe gave them the game time, to keep them going, and bring them firing (Aubas hattrick, Willian this game). And now he has to keep Pepe… Read more »

Johnny 4 Hats

Yeah, good post. We don’t know what goes on behind closed doors. Maybe Eddie and Reiss refused to go. That would be a bit mental, but it happens.

Both are just crying out for Premier league football and it’s so frustrating that we aren’t going to see whether they sink or swim at that level.

I’m assuming we are moving both on in the summer but it would have made so much sense to give them game time at another club and evaluate them after that.


Arteta has fielded Martinelli in key games before, let’s not assume drama and doom day, We won a game and Arteta clearly looks capable of both coaching and selecting our players with excellence


I’m not sure Arteta is mishandling the young players, as you said he’s got the best out of ESR, Saka and we’re seeing some good performances from Odegaard.

It’s understandable that people want to see Martinelli play but he’s been a bit of a glass cannon so imagine Arteta is just trying to manage that situation. We’ve got plenty of cover for his position so it’s possible he’s not being played to protect him. He’s what? 19? I don’t see the hurry right now.

Viv the 🐐

If I look at the other commentors, there seems to be a common sense, of his injury and him beeing 19 and still having time. But having game time in that age is also pivitol. I think he definitly could have more game time the last few games, though he tries to bring Willian into the game, to have a player to rely on in big games the last games of the season. It surely is not the best situation for Gabriels growth, but even a Phoden was getting used to PL football for 2 solid years, not having a… Read more »


It’s also pivotal to not go from injury to injury at age 19. I think Arteta is on par with us on what players need


Nketiah is showing the right intensity when fielded, but his record of very few assists/goals makes it difficult to field him. Laca was equally bleak but has turned that around, leaving Nketiah rooted at the bench. Nelson struggles make a real case when given the chance in PL. While Id like all youngsters to breakthrough, I fully understand Artetas decision on both. What could be trickier is Smith Rowe vs Willian/Pepe, big signings always get more trust bandwidth, Emile needs to show character to not loose form with less regular game time expected in coming games

Bleeding gums murphy

Nketia is not good enough for the Arsenal, full stop.


Same with willock and Nelson. Having followed them closely it hurts to say it but for both club and players this trio need to part ways.

Viv the 🐐

It remind me of a friend, who is a United supporter, who said: Of the “next Generation” Chong, Pereira, Rashford, Fosu-Mensah and so on, only Rashford really survived. I think we should not asume anything else. Maybe they stick around a little bit more, but it surely is not the most effective thing to develop them for another 4 years or so, and come up with the conclusion, that they are not good enough. The difference between Saka, ESR, Martinelli to the rest, is too big for me.


He’s 19 coming back off a big injury How many teenagers are performing consistently in the PL? 6 months is a long time at that age, Saka didn’t play in the Semi final, or final of the FA Cup in August, now he’s the first name on the team sheet Smith-Rowe was rescuing Huddersfield from relegation in July Throwing youngsters in before they’re ready, causes more harm than good, patience is a virtue We’ve just won 1-3 away to a very good team, our forwards all played well, I don’t think an issue needs to be made of something, where… Read more »

Granit(e) hard!

Well said bro, nothing else to add👍🏻


Absolutely, I think it’s just a matter of time before we see Martinelli (a fit Martinelli) make the impact people are desperate to see. Playing him too soon is a risk I wouldn’t like to take.

Man Manny

Martinelli’s time will certainly come. Good players always have their chance sooner or later. ESR is a prime example.
All the boys played well today; we can enjoy the win without asking questions about who didn’t play.

Nainsley Aitland Miles

I don’t think there’s any issue with Martinelli; we have 4 forward positions on the pitch and 8 forwards in the squad (10 if you want to include Nelson and Nketiah).
He’s just down the pecking order is all. He’s a teenager and signed a long-term contract; his time will come.


Still don’t understand what has changed. Why couldn’t they play that well before?

Johnny 4 Hats

Whether it’s ESR, Odegaard or Laca, just having someone in the hole has made all the difference.

And who said number 10’s were dead?


It’s clear Arteta is working with a very ambitious game plan,requiring full commitment and adherence from players to have any chance of success, which is why Matteo, Ozil and Saliba are out, despite their talent. Yet full commitment is only the prereq, it takes time to reshape the anima and body of a team, there where many labeling Klopp as a flopp after his first season at pool. But our extremely poor oct-nov form is a real mistery, would really like someone from the inside to explain what happened


I think it’s mostly learning. It’s taken time for Arteta to learn the players and vice versa-and when you go on a terrible run it takes time to build up some confidence again.


6 changes was the right move, we looked like the fresher of the two teams throughout

Leicester looked leggy

Hopefully Smith-Rowe’s injury isn’t too bad, because we’ll need to rotate if we have any chance of getting into the top 6, or winning the Europa

Delighted for Willian, he’s looked like a beaten man out there this season, 3 assists will have done him the world of good, he played well today

Nainsley Aitland Miles

Nothing has really changed, it was just one of those games where everything just clicked and everyone had a decent performance.
Consistency is the key though, let’s see if we can follow it up with a win at Burnley next week.

Viv the 🐐

It is definitely having a player in space behind the striker, like with ManUtd, someone finding space and always beeing available for a pass and to turn is just massive. And there were so many things like Papa and Özil, Saliba going around the club that very just toxic. And after like two losses, the confidence was gone. Noone could do anything with the ball. Those were some major differences for me.


It’s form. Sometimes it just deserts you. If you’ve played football consistently at any level there’s no way you’d be asking that question.


This has to be one of the most positively unexpected games I’ve watched Arsenal play in recent times following the 7th min debacle.

Santi’s Thigh Grab

This and the Chelsea game have been two enjoyable wins. A platform to push on with. Strong team mentality right now. Two come from behind wins in a row.


I thought we were excellent at West Brom too.

Bob the gunner

Willian had a top game.


True that. And also did anyone else also notice that Pepe plays well when he has a decent RB around him?

Auba auba laca partey

When Willian is wiling!


If he has 10 decent games, I’ll agree. Otherwise, just another old Chelsea rust bucket


I think Lacazette is a little bit (or not so little bit) underappreciated nowadays. He is so many times mentioned as a potential leaver in the summer but I think if we have a striker partnership where both players have diffenert qualities but still both of them are being able to provide 10/15+ goals a season – there should be a very very good reason to let any of them go.
Not to mention their relationship with each other, with their team mates and their dedication to the club.

Santi’s Thigh Grab

Laca has been a great signing but now is his time to go given contract and age. Cant have a collection of over 30 strikers on contract. Love Laca but from squad building view, he has value and we need to cash in and rebuild. Resigning Laca would be repeating previous squad building errors.


I agree that we have to pay attention to the future, but I think it makes no sense if on the other hand we are unable to remain in par with the best teams in the league. I also think that in Martinelli we have a player who can become a rightful heir of Laca and Aubameyang but until then we have to stenghten those parts of our team that are the farthest away from the leaders.
(Let’s not forget that both Ceballos and Odegaard are loanees only)


Not really been a great signing never scored more than 19 goals in all comps in a season and 14, 13 and 10 goals a season in the league.
Decent player but not the lethal striker we were hoping for when he signed.
would have been better off keeping giroud

Murphy was an Arsenal Fan

The issue will be a new contract. Going by scoring rates, between Auba and Laca, Arsenal could take a punt only on one 30+ striker long term. Auba’s it. Respect to Laca for he’s been a very good player in troubled times for the club, but he needs to be moved on while he can sill fetch some money.

Viv the 🐐

That is the problem with the two: Each one of them have characteristics, that only one has, and the other one not. I think financially we have to come down with the wages, and need to generate some transfer income. I think if we want to build a squad for the future, we need to look at giving young players game time as soon as possible for them to grow accordingly and beeing healthier age and asset wise in the next few years. Pepe played partially as a striker, wouldn’t he be a good option with Saka and Martinelli on… Read more »


Our awful wage structure is the one thing that disappoints me most with Wengers last years, Ozil deal especially smashed our wage principles, consistently over paying players ever since. I really like how we have made it clear that players will not play just cause we happened to over pay them, they play if they fare deemed good enough, club is bigger than players wages.


Youngsters should rely on the seniors


Amazing.. twice on the trot we have come from behind and won games, before Thursday we have only managed to do that once this season, thought our Midlands curse was repeating itself again yet we kept our shape & belief.. good to see players who have taken deserved flak stepping up, to many false dawns this season to get carried away but I am absolutely beaming 😊


Absolutely loved this game! Nice to see Arteta not rushing Partey back and just giving him minutes to build up fitness, who knew we could win without Saka?!


Lacca – “We don’t have to rely only on the youngsters”

Me- Yes we do.


There was good responsibility on the ball and neat and tidy quick passing today. Laca to me is key and led the way as captain. I felt at start maybe a wrong decision since Leicester seem one of those teams that come at us and would afford space for Auba but Laca is the more combative with ball and retains it better. Today a different level as he played others in with quick one twos particularly Pepe and Willian as they tucked in field but also many times, Laca drops (almost too) deep and combines with Xhaka or Elneny to… Read more »


Still in tenth and behind Spurs but if we can take the positives from this game, we have 12 games left to put in a good run of wins.

I think we need to convince ourselves that with maybe exception of City at the moment, we can take on and beat anyone-else regardless of our team composition if we play positive short quick passes and stay forward in their half but also dynamic into the box (worse you get running in is a penalty)

No excuses.

the team needs to take this as a refresh of mindset.

H M Yahya

Overall display of the team was good but there are much room for improvement. However, there were some negativity in Arsenal play especially Xhaka who most of his passes were back passes that slowed down the attack at many times.
Xhaka was more interested in having high accurate passing rate in the book rate rather than trying to put his teammates the opportunities to go forward or score.
In last night game the only positive play from him was when he made the block on Leicester players to enable Luis to head the equaliser.


Not sure what you were watching! And I’d love to know how you KNOW he was “more interested in having high accurate passing rate…..” I though that, despite an early error for their goal, his contribution was excellent – as it has been for a number of weeks now.

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