Some players thrive on different things.
We know that a fair amount are driven by money. A large percentage are pushed on by success.
Some though, they get that extra 5% thanks to pressure – and Alexandre Lacazette may well be that type of player.
The French striker enjoyed a fantastic first full season, and his second campaign ended with the striker earning the Player of the Year Award with some amazing performances, a decent amount of goals and generally excellent forward play.
Holding up the ball, awareness, passing, positioning and a firecracker of a shot – all of these and more were in abundance.
Last season though, a combination of injury and poor form led to Laca looking a shadow of the player who had impressed us all. His touch had deserted him, he couldn’t buy a goal and he inevitably slipped down into a substitute’s role, with the emergence of Eddie Nketiah.
But from there, he has fought back and once football had resumed after the lockdown, Laca began to look like his old self.
Was this because of the pressure applied to him with the presence of Nketiah?
Laca is a big-game player and has a handy knack of making a big splash in big games. That is a signal that the Frenchman does his best work when people need him most. The pressure on his shoulders, instead of incapacitating him, it fuels him.
So with Nketiah first forcing him out of the team and then breathing down his neck, that has led to Laca finding his form again. As the young Nketiah looks on from the bench, Laca knows that a couple of shaky performances and the youngster will be in the team – which is probably why we are seeing Laca hit the ground running.
Two goals in two games for our number nine thus far. His play has been a big factor in our forward play too, with new signing Willian and Aubameyang all combining well.
The season is still fresh and there will be peaks and troughs aplenty – but if Lacazette stays fit anfd Eddie continues to put the pressure on – like he did with his late winner versus West Ham – then our Number9 may well be instrumental in our push for the top four.
Watch this space.