Arsenal return to Premier League action on Friday night as they welcome Aston Villa to the Emirates Stadium, where they’ll be looking to extend their unbeaten run with a more convincing performance.
The Gunners got away with one earlier this week as they salvaged a point against Patrick Vieira’s Crystal Palace outfit to take their recent record to six games without defeat in all competitions.
Their last two outings have been lacklustre draws in the wake of their 3-1 thumping of Tottenham Hotspur in the north London derby, so something may need to change as Mikel Arteta needs to spark a more positive reaction.
It was Alexandre Lacazette who was the Spaniard’s hero on Monday night as he came off the bench to slot home the equaliser with effectively the last kick off the game, and he will be buoyed by confidence from that goal, so he must feature in the starting XI tonight.
Arsenal have Leeds United in the Carabao Cup next week and that’ll be the more tempting game to rotate his squad, but the current lineup is in need of a shake-up if the side are to get back to winning ways.
It was the Frenchman’s 68th goal for the club since his £52.7m move from Lyon in 2017. He actually has a pretty respectable record in north London, having averaged a goal or assist every 116 minutes across all competitions, as per Transfermarkt.
Previously described as a “goal machine” by former Gunners defender Sokratis, the 30-year-old forward proved this week that he can still be a game-changer for Arteta and he must be rewarded come kick-off.
“He is a bit like Ian Wright, really. You don’t seem to see him and then suddenly he moves,” the late Gerard Houllier once said of Lacazette, further suggesting that he has the ability to be a nuisance and a surprise threat.
The £19.8m-rated striker, who is out of contract in the summer, is yet to start in the Premier League this season, being restricted to only three top-flight appearances. When he has been given an opportunity from the off, like in the Carabao Cup, he has delivered with two goals and an assist in two games, per Transfermarkt.
It’s time for Lacazette to be handed the reins up top against Villa this evening.