After last week’s announcement that his partner in crime, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, penned a new deal with the club, it’s time for the Gunners to tie Lacazette up for the long term, such is his importance to the side.
Alexandre Lacazette Link-Up Quality Merits New Arsenal Contract
A Fast Start So Far for Lacazette
Having netted two goals in Arsenal’s opening two league games, Lacazette has been quick to open his account in 2020/21, after scoring only ten times in the Premier League last season.
Being back on the scoresheet has undoubtedly improved the striker’s confidence, which in turn will help the other role he has in Mikel Arteta’s 3-4-3: linking the attacking play when Arsenal are in transition.
The 29-year old’s ability to hold the ball up and bring other players into the game makes him an invaluable asset that Arsenal cannot afford to lose. His goal against West Ham on Saturday was the 11th time that he had combined with Aubameyang for a goal in the Premier League since February 2018.
Only Ryan Fraser and Callum Wilson (13) combined for more goals over the same period.
His additional chemistry with Aubameyang off the ball has allowed Arteta to a successful press when Arsenal lose possession. Lacazette’s position and outstanding work-rate often result in him being the first player to pressure opposing defenders once the Gunners lose the ball.
His understanding of when to commit to closing down the goalkeeper and when to drop and cover the opposition’s deepest midfielder must not be underestimated. It has allowed Arteta the luxury of dropping off against teams like Liverpool and Manchester City and into a structured shape so that Arsenal can counter quickly when teams flood forward.
Against weaker opposition, Lacazette’s persistence in distracting opposition defenders can create space for Aubameyang to pounce. However, the Frenchman’s goal at Fulham on the opening day, where he tucked the ball in on the rebound, demonstrated his knack of being in the right place at the right time.
Consequently, Lacazette has shown himself to be a multi-faceted forward who can score goals or bring others into the game with deft flicks and silky touches.
Extra Creative Quality Necessary to Sharpen Arsenal’s Attack
The problem Arsenal have is that, because they lack a midfielder who can consistently create good chances, Lacazette often drops too deep to bring himself into the game.
This could be avoided if Arteta brings in a recognised playmaker, a role that has not been adequately replaced in the absence of Mesut Ozil. Houssem Aouar is known to be the Spaniard’s top target before the transfer window closes on 5 October.
The addition of Aouar would help push Lacazette further up the pitch, where he can be far more of a threat. Advancing his average position will only benefit him as, if Arsenal were to bring in Aouar, Lacazette would have far a greater chance of scoring by lurking in the penalty area and not having to bring others into the game from deep.
The willingness of Alexandre Lacazette to work for the team means he definitely deserves a new deal, but Arteta must sign a playmaker to ensure that the forward can continue to be effective for Arsenal.