Friday, March 1, 2024

“The goals will come” – Arteta backs unlucky Lacazette

Mikel Arteta is backing Alex Lacazette to find his scoring boots in the closing stages of the season after handing the Frenchman the captaincy armband and the responsibility of leading Arsenal’s attack.

Having started the season playing second fiddle to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, the 30-year-old, in the aftermath of his close friend’s bust-up with the manager, has become a fundamental piece of the Gunners jigsaw.

Far from prolific in front of goal, it’s a turn of events few would have predicted last summer and a situation that looks all the odder given the player is into the final months of a five-year contract with the club.

Despite the noise about his future – former club Lyon have already gone public with their desire for a reunion – Lacazette retains the faith of Arteta.

“He has a really important role in the team,” said Arteta ahead of Thursday’s game with Wolves.

“Off the field and on it. He has been unlucky because he has had the chances to score as well, some goals in the last few weeks.

“He needs to continue to do that, to generate those chances for his team-mates, to be in front of goal in the positions we ask him to be in. The goals will come.

He added: “We have to live with those expectations. He knows as a striker what is demanded of him, and that is to be involved in goals and the chance creation of the team.”

While Lacazette’s hold up play, willingness to drop deep and experience are useful, there’s no hiding that his output in the box is sorely lacking. This season he’s scored five goals in 24 matches; that’s once every 287 minutes, almost exactly half the rate he was scoring at last season. We need more.

For the moment, it sounds like he’ll keep getting picked although it was interesting to hear Arteta say he’s tempted to start all four of Gabi Martinelli, Emile Smith Rowe, Bukayo Saka and Martin Odegaard at some point.

On a separate note, the issue of the Arsenal captaincy also came up in the manager’s press conference. We’re certain no other club gets pressed on this quite so much but after some on-field confusion during last week’s win over Brentford when Granit Xhaka refused to take the armband after Lacazette was substituted, Arteta was forced to clarify the situation.

“It [the captaincy] is defined and Granit said to Eddie that he [Kieran Tierney] is next in line and that is why he gave it to Kieran. I think Kieran was really proud of it.

“Rob [Holding] is there as well, as the second one when he is playing. It is not easy. I understand it’s confusing. But you have to understand we have a lot of issues and more captaincy issues…I guarantee that is not what we need.”

He added: “There will be a thorough process in the summer, when we have time, when we have no competitions. We will do it the right way, the way I want to do it.”

In some respects, the comments raise more questions than answers. Just a few weeks ago, Arteta specifically namechecked Xhaka and Lacazette as his two leaders.

Since then the Frenchman has been given the armband outright and now Xhaka is down the pecking order in fourth. Hmm…

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For more on the captaincy situation, check out @Stillberto’s latest column

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C.B.

Unfortunatley Laca probably has to go. 30, not scoring, it isn’t looking good for him.

We need someone who can get aroudn the pitch better and more goal threat than what Laca is doing now.

A shame, I like him a lot but I think his time is up.

madara

He’s contributing to our attack, just not with shots on goal. His contract is up so no doubt he’s gone at the end of the seasons, but he’s very useful still

btw

I think Laca has definitely brought something to the team since his reintroduction. While he had some bad moments last week, he did put the ball in the net with a marginal off side call (how many VAR reviews check the pass before the assist?). I think ESR could do most of what Laca does, but I don’t think he could put his body on the line in the same way. Laca almost jumps in front of defenders to draws fouls and leads with his aggression and occasionally quite good link up play. I would keep him for another year… Read more »

loose_cannon

If we can get a striker that does what Lacazette does while also, you know, actually scoring goals, we should do that as priority.

Flash

I think we shouldn’t forget that at this point in time in the season we are in one of the best position in recent years (in terms of points lost, we are 4th – 2 points behind Chelsea and 5 and 6 points ahead of Man.United and Tottanham respectively). And we’ve achieved that with Lacazette. So I think first of all we should plan how we can build on that not trying to re-establish something absolutely new. I think we really need a new striker but I think it would also be very importnt to keep him in the squad.… Read more »

onenil

Obviously I would love an upgrade – quicker, bigger, more clinical; but that’s not possible before the end of the season. Laca has always tended to score in bursts and he has spent a lot of time further away from goal recently. His misses have been poor, but there is still time for a final burst to help get us into CL.

Vonnie

Laca has had a couple of goals disallowed by VAR and should’ve had a couple of penalties too, it’s not as bad as it’s made out to be, although those bad misses are what stays in the mind. He keeps battling away though and I’m sure he’ll get on the score sheet soon.

Super Tom

He was our top goalscorer last year was 17, I know that’s not a groundbreaking season but I still believe the goals are in there. Lets back him like we back the young guns and worry about getting a superior replacement in the summer 🤙

Abdul bakar

Yeah the goals will come.. Hopefully it’s tonight game let’s the flood gates open.. Cmon on lads, all the best. 3points

Mårten

Naming Xhaka as a leader and him not having the armband could be true at the same time

ben

i really would like to see Pepe deployed in that role, he shields the ball well, turn of pace, good finisher, decent in the air, i think we could have some success? not as a long term solution as such but i’d rather we played him up there then subbed on Nketiah.

Karse

What about his first touch?

ben

it’s not bergkamp esque but i’m happy to trade a difference in first touch for someone who can run

Qwaliteee

It’s better than Lacazette’s….!! 🤣

Before you can be deemed to have a poor first touch, you actually have to possess the pace to get to the ball in the first place…🙄

Bai Blagoi

“last week’s win over Bournemouth “

..wait, what?

The Gooner from OZ

Sign Antoine Semenyo from Bristol. He is young, skillful, scores goals and would be cheap too.

Qwaliteee

If he doesn’t score tonight then surely Arteta has got to start playing Martinelli up front.

findmeasanti

I hope he will comeback as a coach to the young players once he finishes playing.

Gabigol

Perhaps a private agreement between the two to do as much for each other as possible until the summer when he will be given a transfer to Roma

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