As we go into the international break, it is introspection time for Arteta. There are a number of things that we can change to try and improve the way we play which should trickle down into the kind of results we are getting.
One point of often debate is the centre forward position with many fans including myself clamouring for Aubameyang to be utilized here. For the moment, Arteta seems to prefer Lacazette in this position which for me is a mistake. Let’s try and understand why.
Arsenal are a side that like building up out-wide – most of our play is down the sides. We need our most technical players there – Willian/Pepe/Nelson. Playing a forward on the left when you have 0 players linking the play from midfield does not make sense to me at all.
What happens as a result is we struggle to retain the ball higher up the pitch for sustained periods, so it comes down to who you want as the centre forward – Aubameyang, or Lacazette? And the answer is a no brainer.
The main issues with Lacazette for me is that he fails to do many things an elite centre forward does:
- Consistent hold-up play
- Making himself available in tight situations
- Making runs beyond defenders/running the channels
- An aerial threat
- Clinical in front of goal
If I am to be brutally honest, these are aspects of the game Lacazette lacks consistently and it holds the team back. His best trait is probably his defensive contribution – he wins a decent number of balls in challenges, but that really doesn’t justify his place in the side.
We bought Lacazette at a whooping €50m to get us goals, something which he didn’t do – Even Olivier Giroud, who was criticized for not being efficient enough has better goalscoring stats at Arsenal. It is the harsh reality that many don't want to hear.
Lacazette is at his best when he is utilized with a striker next to him in a 2 striker formation. His better performances for Arsenal have come when we played a 3-4-1-2 or 4-4-2 in the 2018/19 season. Arteta, however is never going to set up in this way.
Keeping all this in mind, I am disappointed the club did not accept the ‘substantial offer’ we received from AS Roma as reported by David Ornstein. It was a good time to move him on. We may have to take a hit on the price at the end of the season considering he will only have a year left on his contract, or worse: He could stay to leave as a free agent in 2022.
It is best for all parties to move on. Lacazette should leave to a team that plays with 2 strikers and suit his style. Arsenal, on the other hand must find solutions – either Aubameyang to centre forward, or if not, invest in a complete centre forward. I’m not opposed to developing Martinelli there either.
We need a fresh start in this position and hopefully it will happen soon. COYG.