Alexandre Lacazette was brought from Lyon to Arsenal to be the spearhead for their future attack. After some stellar years in France where he amassed 100 goals in 203 appearances, there was hope and optimism that he would be the striker that Arsenal had been crying out for. The Gunners often had the creative midfielders to create the chances but were lacking the lethal striker to put them away and propel them to the upper echelon of the league. However, after a promising start to his life in the Premier League, he has tailed off and has been relegated to the bench.
Surely sold on the idea of playing with Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, Lacazette started his first few games with a bounce in his step and some sharp link up play. In the few games that the trio started together, the results were magical and the team was firing on all cylinders. But the times that the three shared the pitch together was few and far between and rather than Ozil and Alexis providing support, he was left with Welbeck and Iwobi. Not to be disrespectful, but those two aren’t even in the stratosphere of Ozil and Alexis.
But after such a bright start, the Frenchman’s form has not only taken a turn for the worse but has completely nosedived. A pathetic return of 1 goal in his last 13 games has found Lacazette on the bench for the recent brought in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. But the problems in his game stem way before the acquisitions in the January transfer window. In the majority of the games that Lacazette has started for the club, he rarely finishes. Often if the game is in the balance, Wenger will turn to Olivier Giroud to make the difference and sacrifice Lacazette in doing so. Brought in to be the main man but yet not given the confidence to bring the team home in tight situations looks to have zapped Lacazette of his confidence and now looks a shell of himself when he plays.
Now, all this isn’t to excuse Lacazette for his individual failures because to me, he just hasn’t been good enough. You look at all the other forwards in the league that are thriving thus far such as Kane, Aguero and Salah, there is a hunger and desire to get in positions where scoring becomes a much easier task. However, in the current case of Lacazette, he tends to drift out wide far too often and when the ball comes into areas where he should be, you can find him on the edge of the box or on one of the flanks. Whether this is a coaching decision, I have no clue. But, Lacazette is now faced with a dilemma in which he would have never envisioned when he arrived.
If you would have told Lacazette that Giroud would be sold, the last place he would have expected to find himself is the substitute’s bench. However, as previously mentioned, Aubameyang has been brought in and Lacazette was immediately demoted to the bench and it’s hard to suggest that it wasn’t warranted. Maybe he wasn’t fully acclimatised to the rigours of the Premier League or maybe he hit a brick wall having not had his usual winter break, but his performances didn’t warrant him being in the starting line-up and he has an uphill battle to regain that position.
So has his time in London been a success so far, to me, it hasn’t. The signs are there for hope to still exist that Lacazette will justify the money that has been spent on him, but for now, it doesn’t appear he will be starting games anytime soon. It is now up to Wenger and the other coaches to get Lacazette refocused on his game and instill him with the confidence he showed in his days in France. But with the current state of Wenger’s coaching, I’m pessimistic about that actually happening.