Sunday, July 3, 2022

Saka and Arteta play up Lacazette importance

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.”

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Duno

“but I still have a long way to go in terms of where I want to be in front of goal.”
Tears in my eyes. 😭

Fabulous

Great attitude alongside an already immense talent. Makings of a world class player right there.

And I feel Laca is to us what Firmino is to Liverpool. Presses well and links up even better with the wide forwards. Really wouldn’t mind a contract extension at all if I’m honest, in addition to us acquiring a top striker of course.

Johnny 4 Hats

Well Lukaku is worth £100m and only gets 4 touches a game. Firmino scores about 2 goals a season and Pep is trying as hard as he can to make the CF position extinct.

So we aren’t exactly miles behind anyone else when it comes to striker productivity.

The role has changed considerably and as long as the team are scoring, I really don’t care who gets them.

Wrighty's hats

Interesting points and I agree about the overall trend but I still feel that Laca could be scoring a few more, based on the chances in front of goal that he’s had but missed in recent games, even taking into consideration the slightly different role he occupies now compared with a few seasons ago. Maybe feeling the pressure or concentrating harder on the other aspects of his game (which he has been performing well in to be fair), or both.
Agree with you wholeheartedly regarding as long as the team are scoring.

Thierry Bergkamp (Xhaka Out)

A one year extension as back up striker, a lethal finisher brought in to be the main striker, an upgrade on Xhaka, and we’ll have a very good starting 11 for next season

Cechmate

I wouldn’t mind Michael Antonio, if we can. He brings a different level of threat and a big presence up front.

It Is What It Is

Dennis and Erling will do.

Man Manny

I hope and pray that ‘long way’ is at the Emirates.
Quality players are ambitious, so Arsenal should make it a priority to match Saka’s ambition in terms of quality signings.
We are on the right path; we need to keep building on that.

Funsho Patrick

Yes… lacazette’s link up play is something special..we badly need aerial presence to vary our attack at times and a killer instinct as well….that’s the difference between being a permanent fixture in the CL and being an Europa League team

Mkh

That’s true, Laca is playing an important role in our game, I think. BTW, I will pick Saka and MO as our very best players this season.

gooner

Since he came in for Aubameyang nobody has more assists than him in the league and for me that’s as important as scoring them. It’s not like the Welbeck levels of minimal output. Which by the way fans were ok with for obvious reasons

Heavenly Chapecoense

Welbeck used to work very hard for the team.

Qwaliteee

I’m happy for Laca to play his part in providing support for Saka, Odegaard and Martinelli, but, if (and I emphasise the word if) we make top four, then surely next season the fab four will pick themselves.

Unless, of course, we then sign a world class striker during the summer.

Man Manny

Keep Laca; sign a quality striker; bring Balogun for Nketiah; our forward line is set for next season.

Santi’s Thigh Grab

Laca would want more than a single year extension, likely he will be pushing for three. I don’t see us giving him a three year contract. Laca wants security at his age and who could blame him. It’s fine that we go our separate ways. I liked that the club was targeting Vlahovic in Jan, can’t wait to see who is #1 on Arteta’s list this summer.

Gabigol

Just like Wenger, Mikel has the knack of having players perform for him over consecutive games. Lacazette has been performing really well for the team for a good few games now. Odegaard and Saka have been really exceptional too. If he can get runs of form from individuals over 10 games then Mikel will reach the level that Wenger and Fergie managed in their prime. He certainly understands how an individual needs to flourish in a system. And he definitely has a concept of how players combine. If he has the motivation levels of those famous managers before him perhaps… Read more »

Giuseppe Hovno

he’s just got to find a way we can match our current attacking verve with the defensive nous from a few months back!

Neder

To be fair, Arsenal have the joint best defensive record in the league over the past 10 games… But yes, a few mistakes / sloppy defending has crept in over the last 2 – 3 games

Graham

Off topic but the defence looks far shakier without Tomiyasu. Not a slight on Cedric per se I just think he exudes some je ne sais quoi which makes the backline considerably less nervy. Also, Tierney looks way off it. He’s quite an old fashioned full-back perhaps more suited to a team with less techincal requirements. Maybe a position to look at improving for the next stage of our development.

Jeremy

Agree that Tomi is a big miss. Cedric has done well (much better than I expected, so perhaps some wisdom in keeping him) but he is limited as a player. Not sure Tierney is way off it. Certainly a notch or two below what he was but he is also being asked to do a different job.

gunner

I feel the same way about Tierney.. He just pumps the ball high up the field some times.

Danny

Jesus. Some of our fans make me shake my damn head.

Qwaliteee

It’s called switching attack.

And if you have a guy up front who can hold up the ball and lay it off, then it can be bloody effective.

Arsenal won a league title in injury time up at Anfield in 1989 with a long ball from a full back up to a striker – who then laid it off for a midfield runner….and the rest is history.

Goonshow

Mickey T Mickey T… nailed the Scouse for you and me!

Qwaliteee

Replace Tierney? Are you nuts….?

Boywonder

I really don’t understand how we did t even get a var check on that clear and obvious foul on laca, it felt like because we were winning 3-1 the officials didn’t bother, had we dropped points yesterday That would of been a major talking point.

Chuck Felsea

Aren’t some VAR checks done in the background and if the check is finished before the next interruption of the game and in case VAR deems it to be OK, the viewer wouldn’t even notice that there was a VAR check for that scene? Basically they radio the ref that it was nothing and there wouldn’t be any breaks or graphical inserts in such breaks about the check. Don’t get me wrong, some VAR interventions (and non interventions) for us have been ridiculous, but I think in that scene we can’t conclude that it was not checked at all. We… Read more »

Sebinho9

I don’t feel Lacazette is far away. He’s been a bit unlucky. Also, the stats tell us that we are not underscoring, therefore the goals have just shifted from the striker to the wide players. If Lacazette weren’t providing for Saka, ESR and Martinelli, we would have a problem. As it is, he’s doing an 8/10 job. Scoring a few himself would just be the icing on the cake.

Gooner7190

Speaking of underscoring, MOTD2 had the xG up last night, Watfords was something like 1.67 & ours was 0.86. Is there a more pointless stat than Expected Goals? We scored 3 from only 4 attempts on target for Christ sake

Santi’s Thigh Grab

Those three goals were all exquisitely finished. It’s not a surprise that Watford beat us on xG, we finished most of our chances. Not typical for Arsenal. Just need to maintain chance creation and the finishing. Not going to create a lot of chances from a low block team.

loose_cannon

He’s a bit like Firmino, a facilitator as much as a goal scorer, and we’ve clearly seen that at City as well. Even Tuchel has seemingly started to give up on the traditional no.9, going for Havertz or Pulisic over Lukaku and Werner at times. The key here is that those teams, especially City and Liverpool, have enough goals around the team to compensate, and whoever is playing at CF for them chips in as well.

rincewind

laca is the most false 9.

Gunnerlocutor

The weird thing (at least to me) is that Laca used to strike the ball very well and scored a bunch of great goals in the box. We can all remember that Laca. What happened?

Wrighty's hats

My theory is that when he was that Laca, while he would score important goals, he wasn’t contributing that well to the other aspects of the game, so when the goals weren’t flowing, he wasn’t all that helpful to the team. He’s transitioned in the last couple of seasons into a more dynamic player, pressing a lot better and being more skilled at build-up play – probably to the detriment of the killer instinct in front of goal… I think he’s still got it in him, hopefully we’ll see a fair few goals between now and the rest of the… Read more »

vin

I am Laca’s biggest defender but that left foot shot embarrassed me, where has his shooting gone honestly, it baffles me. He scored some great goals, including ones on his left foot, I want that purple patch of goals that he tends to get every season, we need it, he is playing really well otherwise

Forrest Moore

I get the impression from the goals yesterday that Arteta has encouraged players to speed up the attack. Too often we’ve held the ball too long around the edge of the box, allowing the opposition to gather themselves. This swift, incisive passing and shooting is a whole new level of threat for opposition teams, and can only work from a place of confidence and team hunger. Awesome.

A Different George

People have noted the resemblance in style to Man City yesterday. For me, City’s single most important attribute is the technical skill–and therefore confidence–that almost all their players have to make quick, hard passes even when the teammate is being marked. And when their pressure forces a turnover high up the pitch, this skill and confidence mean they move the point of attack into a goal threat immediately. Which sounds like a description of Saka’s goal.

Elandre

He currently does very well as a false 9. Positive attitude brings a player a long way. Hopefully a extension is on the horizon. Phenomenal player and he is a good goa scorer regardless of the current situation he finds himself in.

Teryima Adi

The goals’d come for Lacazette- they will surely come. Top Four still in sight.

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