It’s an unusual state of affairs for a club’s main striker to have more assists than goals at this point in the season but Mikel Arteta remains very happy the shifts put in by Alex Lacazette.
In 26 appearances this season, the Frenchman has just five goals but despite his struggles in front of goal, he remains fundamental to Arsenal’s style of play, as underlined by his two deft assists in yesterday’s 3-2 win over Watford at Vicarage Road.
Either side of the break, the Gunners captain produced picture-perfect lay-offs allowing Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli to find the net in emphatic style. The finishes came in stark contrast to Lacazette’s own attempts at goal which personified the expression ‘couldn’t hit a cow’s arse with a banjo’.
The striker’s struggles in front of goal, are clearly playing on his mind.
“He will still not be happy in that dressing room because he wants to score, but a lot of the things he does for the team are phenomenal,” said Arteta afterwards.
“I think he’s had really good moments in terms of goal-scoring records, probably better than what he’s doing right now, but for what we ask of him and for what I ask of him and the contribution that I need from him, I think he’s doing really, really well.”
Arteta wasn’t the only one to single out Lacazette for praise following yesterday’s win. Man of the match Saka says his goal was straight off the training ground and a testament to the relationship he has with his captain.
“That’s what we work on every day, the high press,” the England international told Arsenal.com.
“As soon as I won it, I found Laca and he knows my movement and where I am.
“It’s so fun to play with him. He put that ball in the perfect spot for me and it was just down to me to finish. I finished well.”
For his part, Saka, who now has eight Premier League goals this season, says his own finishing is improving.
“I feel much more confident [in front of goal] – but I still have a long way to go in terms of where I want to be in front of goal. Just to keep trying, that’s the only way I can improve. I’ll miss some and I’ll score some and I’ll just learn from them.
“I do set myself targets but at the same time, I just want to win each game. If I don’t score but we win, it’s better for the team. That’s the best way to think about it and at the end of the season, we’ll achieve big things like this.”