A lot has been made regarding our failing in the striker department.
In particular, the shot-shy nature of our number9 – Alexandre Lacazette.
No one can deny that when it comes to goals, the Frenchman hasn’t exactly contributed his fair share.
In fact, going back to the first sentence and the exposure Lacazette has got for his dearth of net-busting, we have seen graphics showing exactly how Lacazette has struggled. Compared to the bottom 5 sides and their ‘leading’ strikers, Lacazette fits in pretty snugly when it comes to relegation-haunted teams.
But the point remains – where were these social posts, articles and musings about Lacazette during our winning run? Didn’t you notice how they were posted during the two week spell when we lost to Crystal Palace and Brighton? But during the eight games between 23 Jan and 19 March – where we lost a solitary game, the 2-0 loss to Liverpool – Lacazette wasn’t held up as the sole reason why Arsenal can’t hold onto any hope of finishing in the top4.
Nope, quite the opposite.
Lacazette was actually receiving praise for his performances. For SACRIFICING goals by playing deeper, involving the runs of Saka, Martinelli, Odegaard and ESR, his awareness of his teammates and his diligence when it came to pressing play higher up.
Our number 9’s role has changed. It’s abundantly clear to anyone who has watched us this season, post-Auba.
Lacazette could well do with some more forays into the box. But his raison d’etre right now is to bring others in and take the heat away from our young runners, so they can exploit the space.
Yep, Lacazette didn’t have the greatest of games against both Palace and Brighton. It might have been prudent to play Nketiah and give the guy a rest. But Laca was playing well and performing his role satisfactorily before these games.
True, one open play goal in five months is far from the level of danger your first-choice striker is expected to deliver. And his goals this season is aligned with the struggles of Jay Rodriguez, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Teemu Pukki.
There’s no doubt from any Gooner whatsoever that we undoubtedly require a new striker this summer. To continue our growth, there is simply no choice.
But don’t berate a striker who has clearly been asked to perform a role that doesn’t require goals.
Lacazette has shown willing and exerted himself. His pressing, his determination – they were all more than enough for the majority of us when we were squeezing out results.
Don’t make Laca the scapegoat when the results don’t come in.