Last season’s Player of the Year is having a bit of a rough time. I mean, three goals in his last 17 appearances is hardly the makings of a £46m frontman, is it?
Call me old-fashioned, but I like my strikers to score goals. Y’know, the one-in-two(ish) rate where you’re almost assured that if they didn’t score this weekend, they’ll bag one in the next.
In the ever evolving world of football, this isn’t always the case anymore. In many instances, strikers aren’t just goalscorers. Instead, they’re the string of the bow as opposed to the arrow. Was Alexandre Lacazette signed to be the string though? No…no he wasn’t.
But in Mikel Arteta’s setup, that’s become his function. It’s clear in his playing style that the Frenchman likes to be involved in the early phases of attacks, with such characteristics coming at the cost of, well, that goalscoring thing.
His style is something the Spaniard has clocked on to, though, and one he now embraces.
Eddie Nketiah on the other hand, is an entirely different striker, one who prefers to play on the shoulder, but it’s Lacazette’s style – goals or no goals – that could be the key to Arsenal securing a positive result in Sunday’s NLD.
Look, he must start scoring again, end of, but what he brings to the team in aggression and work rate could be the hugely important against a rigid Jose Mourinho setup. As due to his willingness to drop deep and collect the ball in front of the back four, he could act as a disrupter for Arsenal on Sunday.
Disrupting the Spurs backline will be key to forcing errors. The spaces that open in between the full-back and centre-back are where the Gunners can hurt Tottenham, with the pace of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Bukayo Saka in the inside-forward roles likely to be their main weapon.
Spurs are a side short of confidence, and ensuring they remain on the back foot throughout will begin with Lacazette’s tenacity. When he comes short to collect the ball – likely from Dani Ceballos – the overlapping runs from the wide players will stretch the game, playing into Arsenal’s hands.
Nevertheless, Lacazette has to step up to the plate. He simply does not score enough goals and recapturing that touch is essential to him regaining his place in the starting XI. Yet, against Spurs, scoring will not be his most requisite task.
Getting in the faces of the opponents, harassing and pressing from the front, opening up spaces behind him for his fellow forwards and buying Ceballos time to distribute the ball will be where Arsenal win this game.
Many pre-match assumptions are that Arsenal should secure victory given the turmoil at Tottenham, but it’s a classic case of ripping up the form book when the north London derby is concerned.
Which, coincidentally, is precisely what Lacazette must do. Start scoring again, yes (please), but put any goal-shy woes to one side on this occasion and focus on the task at hand; you’re integral to that.
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