Tag Archives: Alexandre Lacazette

Arsenal need a Bergkamp or Giroud, not an Ian Wright

Arsenal’s front 3 are not working.

It is clear and obvious to all, including Mikel Arteta, that Arsenal are not creating and therefore not scoring enough.

The problem is Arteta is yet to work out what his front 3 is.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was deadly on the left hand side last season, finishing 2nd top scorer in the league. But he creates very little from out wide.

If you play Aubameyang on the left, you need to have a striker in the middle that can be the creative outlet.

When Aubameyang is outwide, Alexandre Lacazette is in the middle. But he is more of an Ian Wright or Jermaine Defoe than a Dennis Bergkamp or Gianfranco Zola.

Lacazette is a goal scorer. Not a creator.

When Arsenal play Lacazette and Aubameyang together, they are sacrificing creativity for goals. But the problem is for them to score they need to get the ball in dangerous places.

In all 3 of Arsenal’s defeats this season, both Aubameyang and Lacazette have missed clear chances to score – Lacazette against Leicester and Liverpool; Aubameyang against Man City.

So as it stands, the strikers are not getting enough chances, and when they do they are fluffing their lines.

With Lacazette down the middle and Aubameyang on one of the flanks, it leaves either Bukayo Saka, Nicolas Pepe or Willian on the opposite side.

It leaves us with just one naturally creative player in the front 3 for the final third.

In the short term, Arteta should move Aubameyang into the middle and play 2 of Willian, Pepe and Saka.

Aubameyang then focuses on what he does best – scoring goals; whilst the onus is then on the two wide men to drop inside and feed up. The full backs then provide the width.

It is similar to how Manchester City attack – with Raheem Sterling on the left and either Bernardo Silva or Riyad Mahrez on the flanks.

The widemen cut in giving the full backs the space to get to the byeline and play cut backs to Sergio Aguero.

The other option is to look at Liverpool.

Liverpool’s goals come from their widemen – Sadio Mane and Mo Salah – rather than Firminho up front.

Firminho is their creative outlet in the final 3rd.

Like City, Liverpool also rely on their full backs for creativity in the wide positions.

The problem is for Arsenal is we do not have a Firminho type striker who can drop a little deeper.

If we wish to go down the Liverpool route, we need to find a Dennis Bergkamp – a striker who is a better creator than he is a scorer.

Arteta could then play his Bergkamp type down the middle, looking forward, feeding Aubameyang wide left and either Pepe or Saka wide right.

Chelsea sign Kai Harvetz this summer. He would have been ideal to play the “false 9” position.

The final option is to take inspiration from Arsenal under Arsene Wenger.

Wenger played Olivier Giroud down the middle.

Giroud is not a naturally goal scorer, but he is fantastic with his back to goal and bringing others into play.

Arsenal at their best with Giroud in the team had Alexis Sanchez and Theo Walcott on the flanks, scoring the goals.

2016/17 saw Arsenal score 77 league goals – the highest since 2009/10.

Alexis Sanchez scores 30 goals in all competitions and Theo Walcott 19. Giroud was 3rd top scorer with 16.

Giroud does a similar job for France as well – bringing Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe into play, letting them take the glory.

Instead of a Bergkamp type who will drop deeper to create, Arsenal could go for a Giroud type who plays with his back to goal and brings the wide forwards into play that way.

Arteta needs to make a decision on a long term plan:

  • Aubameyang down the middle with creativity out wide
  • Bergkamp type down the middle, with the goals out wide
  • Giroud type down the middle with the goals out wide

Whatever route he goes down, one thing is clear.

Lacazette down the middle with a Aubameyang out wide doesn’t work.


New (interim) Head Coach – Same Old Performance

Anyone that thought that by simply sacking Unai Emery Arsenal would begin to turn in world beating performances were clearly very naïve.

Freddie Ljungberg had been in temporary charge of the squad for just 2 training sessions prior to the game against Norwich. We saw a few tweets (Shkodran Mustafi and Granit Xhaka returning) but overall it was the same players playing the same way under Unai Emery.

What yesterday exposed was the it is not just Emery and his inconsistent tactics and formation that was the problem. The players themselves need to look at their own performances.

For too long many of the players have escaped criticism, with firstly Arsene Wenger and then Unai Emery taking the brunt of fans anger.

Individual players, such as Mesut Ozil and Granit Xhaka have taken abuse from the fans; but many players have escaped such criticism.

The likes of Alexandre Lacazette have been distinctly average for some time.

Oddly named Arsenal Player of the Season last year following 134 league goals, Lacazette has been extremely inconsistent during his time at the club – 40 goals in 103 games is not a great record. Lacazette is certainly one player who has escaped any sort of criticism.

What is becoming very clear and obvious is that our squad is made up of a lot of players who are either:

  1. Not good enough or;
  2. Not mentally strong enough

In defence we make too many mistakes. This is highlighted by how many penalties we give away.

David Luiz, Mustafi and Sokratis all have a mistake in them. They are all senior internationals. A new manager is not going to suddenly improve them; cut out their error ridden games.

It is the same in midfield.

The centre of the park has been a huge problem for Arsenal in recent years.

Unbalanced with players who can not defend, can not pass, can not drive the ball forward. The fact is if Francis Coquelin was still at the club, he would probably be our best midfielder.

Not in recent memory have we had a midfield that passes the ball so poorly.

Like with the defenders making individual errors, the feeling is the sloppiness of the likes of Granit Xhaka is now ingrained into his game. He is beyond the point where it can be coached out of him.

Simply put, we have too many players who make too many mistakes and no change of manager will make a difference.

These are not young kids who can be coached to improvement – these are senior internationals who are not taking responsibility over their own performances.

When Chelsea won the Champions League, they had a weak coach in Roberto Di Matteo. But they have the likes of Petr Cech, John Terry, Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard and John Terry on the pitch. They had a team of leaders similar to what Arsenal had during the unbeaten season.

The England rugby team had similar in 2007.

Andy Robinson was a poor coach, out of his depth. The senior players got their heads together and drove the team to the final.

Arsenal lack any leaders on the pitch.

Emery’s policy of having multiple leaders makes sense (it is used throughout Europe as well as in cricket and rugby) but it only works it you have actual leaders on the pitch.

There is no point having a senior leadership team if its members are merely members because they are senior, and not because they have any leadership skills.

Regardless of who replaces Unai Emery, things will not change at Arsenal until the players attitudes change.

They either need to step up and take responsibility for their own poor performances or be moved on.


The Fabric of Football | The Arsenal: This is Home

“When you start supporting a football club, you don’t support it because of the trophies, or a player, or history, you support it because you found yourself somewhere there; found a place where you belong.” – Dennis Bergkamp

There are many different routes to becoming an Arsenal fan. Whether you were born into it or they were your local club. Whether it was because of Kanu or Thierry Henry. Or whether one day you were watching the 1991 FA Cup Semi Final on TV and decided to support the loser.

Regardless of how you become an Arsenal fan, what is important is that you found a place where you belong. You found a home.

As part of the new Arsenal kit launch, Adidas have produced a short film giving an in-depth look at the identity, community and values that make the club so unique.

Fabric of Football: This is Home calls on the experiences and insights of club legends, current male & female stars, hopefuls of the future, as well as fans to explore what makes The Arsenal a global club with local community at its heart.

The film – the second in the Fabric of Football series, following a similar look at the values of Real Madrid CF  – celebrates the progressive and inclusive mentality of Arsenal, with club legend Ian Wright speaking with typical candour and passion about the role of the club in his experience growing up in London.

As well as Wright, Mesut Ozil, Alex Iwobi, Mattéo Guendouzi, Vivianne Miedema, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette, Leah Williamson, Jordan Nobbs & Per Mertesacker, all reflect with pride on their own journeys with the club so far.

This is that film