Tag Archives: Alexandre Lacazette

The substitution that changed the world

As Alexandre Lacazette’s number appeared in the board, boos filled the air in North London as Arsenal fans showed their disapproval of the decision.

The decision by Unai Emery to take off the Frenchman for Aaron Ramsey was not a popular one. Fans felts Lacazette was still contributing. Far more than Alex Iwobi or Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

They had been influenced by the media – who had highlighted how often Lacazette gets taken off. They felt it was unfair. That he should finish 90 minutes. The frustration was that he was also the first man to be hooked off.

What the emotional response highlighted was why fans are fans and the manager is in the dugout.

A football manager can not let his emotions, the crowd around him, or the media affect his decision making.

Emery felt Lacazette for Ramsey was the right decision; and Arsenal took the game from 2-1 to 4-1 with Ramsey scoring the 3rd. Aubameyang – who many felt should have been the man to be taken off – scored the 4th.

When the substitution was made, the chap next to me muttered “why are we going negative and defensive”. That comment really summed up the lack of understanding of fans. Ramsey has never been a negative, defensive substation.

Emery fully explained the logic of the change:

“Tactically we thought in that moment we needed to change for more balance. Above all we know Fulham midfielder Jean Michael Seri is coming on and we need a player close to him, not to let him play easily with the ball.

“Ramsey can do that and also help us in attack, and he scored. The reason is this. I need to do my work. And not maybe because every supporter can have a different opinion, tactically.”

By bringing on Ramsey, it meant a formation switch from 433 to 4321.

Ramsey could both press high onto Seri whilst still maintaining an attacking threat. A negative substation would have been bringing Mo Elneny on rather than Ramsey.

Some fans have also moaned that it should have been Iwobi or Aubameyang to come off rather than Lacazette. Again, there are logical reasons why they remained on the pitch.

Emery went to 4321 with Iwobi and Ramsey in behind Aubameyang. Lacazette can not play behind a striker. It is not his game. Neither can Aubameyang. So if you want to switch to that formation, Iwobi must stay on.

There is also logic behind keeping Aubameyang on ahead of Lacazette and it is all about speed.

Aubameyang is quicker than Lacazette. If the game is tight and the opponents are coming on to you, you need to be able to counter punch. Aubameyang on the counter attack ensured that if Arsenal didn’t get that quick 3rd from Ramsey, they would have a threat up top. They would be able to hit Fulham on the break.

It used to infuriate me back in the day when Theo Walcott was taken off when Arsenal had a one goal lead. You want to keep your quickest forward on as the likelihood is the 2 goal lead will come from a break.

Aubameyang moved into the middle, was then a threat with the ball over the top and Ramsey and Iwobi presses high behind him disrupting Fulham’s passing.

Ramsey scored the 3rd. Aubameyang the 4th. Emery’s decision justified.

But still last night, after seeing their side win 4-1, some fans were still moaning about the substitution.


Bromance of Arsenal strikers

When he joined in January, there was plenty of talk that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang  was a disruptive influence.

There was talk that his arrival would cause friction with between the Gabonese striker and the man bought in the summer, Alexandre Lacazette. That two players competing for one position, and one with the ego of Aubameyang, would result in the French striker being unhappy and leaving.

Calling Aubameyang a disruptive influence with an ego was basically lazy journalism.

They saw a young black man with spiky hair and tattoos who liked sports cars and jackets and assumed he had a massive ego, without really knowing the player. It was labelling, the same we see with Raheem Sterling.

Every multi millionaire footballer has a top of the range car, usually more than one, but it seems only certain players are criticised for it. Usually young black players.

They also claimed he was a disruptive influence. But there had no evidence of it. Just hearsay. Even though those that knew him, or were close to the Dortmund set up debunked the rumours. They said he had a couple of issues over the years arriving late for training after visiting Milan or Paris, but that was all.

He was a team mate. A jolly character who bought people together.

The press ignored the facts and wrote their stories for hits, clicks and advertising revenue.

Instead of competing against each other, seeing each other as rivals creating friction, Aubameyang and Lacazette have actually struck up a bromance, and it should not be a surprise to anyone.

Aubameyang and Lacazette were born just two years apart, they are both in their late 20s adjusting to life in a new country.

Lacazette was born in Lyon, France, spending his entire life in the French city prior to moving to Arsenal. Aubameyang meanwhile is much more travelled in his career.

Aubameyang’s career has taken him from Italy, to France, then Germany and now England. What is often forgotten about is that whilst he plays for Gabon he was actually born in Laval, France.

He lived in France for 17 years before moving to Italy to join AC Milan’s youth set up. They then loaned him back to French clubs before selling him to Saint-Étienne in 2011.

He is the son of former Gabonese captain Pierre Aubameyang, but is as much French as he is Gabonese.

Like Aubameyang, Lacazette is also from a French immigrant family. His family originate from Guadeloupe.

Lacazette is the youngest of 4 brothers, Aubameyang the youngest of 3.

So here you have two men of similar age, both bought up in France to immigrant families, both the youngest children, both living in London for the first time. Is it really a surprise that they are drawn to each other, seeing themselves as friends rather than rivals?

They clearly socialise together, and their off the pitch connection came through during the game against Cardiff on Sunday where they linked up well.

Playing the pair up front together, at the sacrifice of either Mesut Ozil or Henrikh Mkhitaryan is an exciting option.


Mesut Ozil, Aubameyang v Lacazette & Jose Mourinho

Mesut Ozil

Sick again, it is hard to support him at times, he does not help himself.

A bit like in the office having a really good employee who you are also mates with, going out a couple of days a week after work for a pint, yet is off sick twice a month.

You want to support and back them but eventually the camels back is broken.

I am getting to this point with Ozil.

Some have said he has a low immune system, others that he has a dicky back. it is then crazy that we gave him such a huge contract if we knew that he had health or injury problems.

I do not believe the rumours of a training ground bust-up. The media are just trying to use The Arsenal name to create hits.

With it being the last week of the transfer window, it did get me thinking.

Should Arsenal cash in on Mesut Ozil if a bid comes in?

Aubameyang v Lacazette

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has started the season slowly. He is however still a class act.

Meanwhile Alexandre Lacazette has looked electric every time he has come on, making things happen. Both players seem to also play well together.

So who should start against Cardiff?

Jose Mourinho

Watching the Jose Mourinho press conference yesterday was a thing of beauty.

Mourinho demanding respect from the media as he has won 3 Premier League titles, whilst all other 19 managers in the division have only won 2 between them.

It got me thinking about Mourinho’s comments about Arsene Wenger back in October 2005.

“I think he is one of these people who is a voyeur,” he said. “He likes to watch other people. There are some guys who, when they are at home, they have a big telescope to see what happens in other families. He speaks and speaks and speaks about Chelsea.” 

At this point, Mourinho had won just 1 Premier League title against Wenger’s 3.

He showed no respect to Wenger, despite Wenger, at the time, having won more than him in England. In fact, throughout his career in England, he has shown a lot of disrespect to others on the touchline.

Most notably the amount of times he has shaken the hand of an opposing manager and walked off in a strop.

Mourinho needs to take a long hard look at himself. If he wants respect from the media and other managers, perhaps he should start by giving them the respect first?

Respect is for those who deserve it, not those who demand it.