Before you think, 'Ah here goes LTA ranting about Laca again', this won't be a rant. This is going to be an objective assessment of Lacazette.
Firstly, I don't have an agenda against Lacazette. I said he is our player of the season back during early March of last year. His goals against Chelsea, Spurs, Liverpool and selfless display in our 2-0 win against Man United proved to be vital in us going into April as favorites for the top 4. He amassed 13 non penalty goals and 12 assists last season in the league.
When Lacazette was signed in 2017 for a whooping £50m, people expected him to be an immediate upgrade on Giroud and his record in France spoke for itself. 100 goals in 201 ligue 1 appearances. In his first season, he did well in patches, but found himself on the sidelines for almost 3 months with injury. His second season saw him having clutch moments against some top sides, which led to him earning the player of the season award.
Some of Lacazette's best displays last season came when he played alongside Aubameyang centrally in a 4-4-2/4-3-1-2/3-5-2. In other systems however, the lack of balance was evident when he played with Auba coming off the left hand side. Same case this season, especially in away games - We struggle to retain the ball high up pitch as we are over reliant on a quick combination to create an opening. Is Lacazette's hold up play on the level of a false 9 like Firmino? I don't think so. He gets dominated way too easily by physical defenders, especially away from home. He doesn't run the channels enough and hasn't really been clinical enough in front of goal. Olivier Giroud was slated for never hitting 20 goals in the league and it certainly looks like Lacazette won't be crossing even 15 at his 3 seasons with the club. The lack of goals isn't down to the fact he plays a supporting role - He has got chances, but has failed to convert.
This is not the first time Lacazette has gone on a barren patch either. In his first season at the club, he went 9 league games without scoring. In 2018/19, he went 6 games without scoring in the league and once again matched this run toward the end of the season when we so desperately needed goals to take us into the Champions league. Right now, he has failed to score a goal in his last 7 league games. The chances have been there, but he hasn't been composed enough in front of goal.
Lacazette's goals have come in bursts and are typically of the highest quality. You look at his goal against Liverpool at the Emirates for example and think, 'Wow, what a top player this guy is!'. When he is on song, he can be a terrific player - He plays with great confidence and can be relentless when it comes to battling for the ball to help his side make an opening. However, the lack of consistency is a major issue. As of tomorrow, he will be an entire year without an away league goal in the Premier league, a worrying statistic.
I do not doubt Lacazette's quality when he is in song - not for one moment. But he's had enough chances under Arteta and bar a couple of good games, he hasn't been up to task. Last season, our third choice striker Danny Welbeck had a season ending injury and there was a lack of competition. However, right now - we have a certain Brazilian teenager who has all the traits to become a world class striker. Martinelli has been ice cold in front of goal, impressive off the ball, runs the channels and is also an aerial threat and has actually delivered this season. Let's also throw in the talented Eddie Nketiah into the equation while we're at it.
Having Aubameyang at centre forward means our team is more balanced. We can control games better. Leaving Lacazette out for some time can help him introspect and come back stronger. In big Europa league ties - We will need Laca to be on song. I will be super happy if Lacazette rediscovers his form as it can only be good for Arsenal. At the moment however, we need to pick a combination that can give us the best balance and help us go on a winning run and gain momentum and that combination is one without Lacazette, as harsh as that may sound.