When Alexandre Lacazette joined Arsenal back in the summer of 2017 for a fee in the region of £46.5m, the north London side had gotten an elite striker with a proven record in front of goal. The 28-year-old was a dominant force in French football, scoring 129 goals in 275 games for Lyon, and his debut campaign at the Emirates certainly offered plenty of promise.
Despite competing with Olivier Giroud for much of the season, Lacazette never seemed too concerned by the pressure of having another centre-forward keeping him on his toes. The France international found the back of the net 17 times in 39 games across all competitions, and also provided five assists too. But following Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s arrival from Borussia Dortmund, things have proven to be far more difficult for the Frenchman.
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Whilst the Gabon international has hit the ground running in north London – after all, he was a joint-winner of the Premier League’s Golden Boot last season – Lacazette has blown hot and cold. Following Aubameyang’s signing in January 2018, the former Lyon man struck just five times in the Premier League for the remainder of the campaign.
Now, his start to the current season has been similarly unimpressive, notching just six times in 19 games across all competitions. Lacazette’s struggles have come at a time when the Gunners can ill-afford to carry passengers, such is their predicament of being in tenth place in the Premier League.
But following the north London side’s reported decision to keep hold of Eddie Nketiah rather than sending him out on loan again for the second-half of the season, the heat has well and truly turned up on Lacazette.
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According to Goal, Mikel Arteta has been left suitably impressed with what Nketiah has shown in training, and has decided to retain his services. The Gunners now have an additional front-line striker in their ranks, and Lacazette no longer has the peace and comfort in knowing he is likely to be the side’s starter week-in and week-out.
If he continues to produce poor performances and misfire in front of goal, Arteta now has the option of turning to Nketiah, and the academy product will no doubt relish his chance to stake his claim. It’s up to Lacazette now to step his game up, or else he risks falling behind in the pecking order.