Tag Archives: Alexandre Lacazette

Arsenal striker “best in the league”

As expected, many people commented on this mornings blog without actually reading it.

The jist was simple. Arsenal need to keep fringe pair Alex Iwobi and Danny Welbeck. And this was justified by pointing out that they were squad players, and more importantly home grown.

The majority of replies were “they should be the first two out of the club”. It highlights people not reading the blog, or understanding football.

Lets take Danny Welbeck. He is 3rd choice striker. Next season how much game time is he going to get? He will need both Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to be out of the team to get a start up top.

If everyone is fit, we will play 1 up top, so Danny Welbeck will be on the bench. Whoever is not playing between Lacazette and Aubameyang will be bought on before him if we need a goal. Welbeck will be a long way from the first team.

3rd choice striker got me thinking.

Is Danny Welbeck the best “3rd choice striker” in the Premier League? In all honesty, without looking on Wikipedia, I could not name the 3rd choice striker of most times. So off I go, to do some research (in the hope of producing a pretty little spreadsheet). The findings were interesting.

The only other striker other than Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus to play for Manchester City this season was Lukas Nmecha, a 19 year old Englishman who has made 2 substitute appearances after the league title was one. 14 minutes in total.

Chelsea are in a similar position. They have just two senior strikers. Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud. They have had Diego Costa and Michy Batshuayi on their books as well this season. Costa has left and Batshuayi on loan.

The reality is, Chelsea do not have a 3rd choice striker currently at the club. Will Batshuayi return? Who knows? Next year it will probably be Tammy Abraham. The youngster on loan to Swansea has 5 goals in the Premier League this season.

Manchester United are in a more favourable position.

After Romelu Lukaku, they have Alexis Sanchez, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial. If I wanted to be biased, I would claim that Sanchez is a wideman, and that Martial is 3rd choice striker, but in truth Sanchez would be moved upfront if Lukaku was injured.

This leaves Rashford as 3rd choice striker.

Rashford is similar to Danny Welbeck. Infact is he just a young Danny Welbeck? An adequate striker who is often used on the wing and scores 1 in 4.

There is talk of Rashford leaving Manchester United and joining Arsenal. If this resulted in Welbeck leaving, it would be like when a rich middle aged man leaves his wife for a younger model.

Rashford is just 20, so he will still improve (where as Welbeck will not). Certainly one for the future, but Welbeck will start ahead of the youngster for England.

Liverpool are an odd one. Mohamed Salah is the leagues top scorer, but is no more a striker for us than when Alexis Sanchez was when he was playing out wide for Arsenal last season. Salah has played just 3 times down the middle this season.

Despite also not being a natural striker, Roberto Firmino is their out disputed number one. Whenever he has not played, Liverpool have put Dominic Solanke through the middle. He has made 4 Premier League starts this season. That leaves Danny Ings as 3rd choice striker.

Neither Ings or Solanke will go to the World Cup. Welbeck will.

When Harry Kane picked up his injury for Spurs, they pushed Son Heung-Min further forward. This clearly puts Fernando Llorente as 3rd choice, even though he was originally bought as back up to the English cry-baby.

At 33 he is clearly a striker on the wain. He scored 15 league goals last season for Swansea, but found the net just once for Spurs in the Premier League this – although he has played just 226.

The fact that Mauricio Pochettino does not seem to trust him to be 2nd choice striker behind Kane is telling.

Danny Welbeck might not be everyone’s cup of tea, yet he has 10 goals in all competitions this season. He has started just 5 games this season upfront. I would be surprised if too many are in the Premier League.

Arsenal do need a better wide option than Danny Welbeck. 16 starts on the wing is too many. He can not be our first choice winger next season. But up front, as 3rd choice striker, there are not too many better in the Premier League.

Keenos

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Arsenal players enter new relationship

When Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang handed the ball to Alexandre Lacazette when on a hat trick against Stoke City, the Gambion got some grief from some attention seekers.

Here was a striker, who should be hungry for goals, already with 2 (including 1 penalty) handing the ball over to a team mate. One fan, who must have had some good betting information,  had stuck a fiver on him getting a hat trick was especially angry.

But what it showed was Aubameyang’s awareness of a fellow striker who was going through a bad patch.

Before he joined the club, Aubameyang had been highly criticised in the press. Egotistical. Self-interested. Flashy. A big time Charlie. A poor team mate.

The majority of these comments were by people who did not know him. Had not followed his career. Had probably never had dealings with him. They saw the flash cars, the jewellery, and his skin colour and judged him. Like they do with Raheem Sterling.

That day against Stoke City, Aubameyang showed exactly who he is.

He saw Lacazette through his own eyes as a striker. His team mate had scored 1 goal in 13 games. Had an injury. Had not really settled at his new club. Every striker will recognise another striker struggling. The simple chances get skied or put wide. The confidence is not their for one on ones. The offside flag gets raised more often than not.

Aubameyang’s two goals against Stoke City had made it 5 goals in his first 7 games for Arsenal. He could have easily made it 6 in 7 and walked off with the match ball. Other strikers (Harry Kane) would have done. They would have been greedy. Even if it was at the detriment of their team mates.

By giving the ball to Lacazette, he hoped that a goal would spark him in to life. Would shake the cobwebs. With himself being cup-tied in the Europa League, he knew that it was more important for the team for Lacazette to score than himself.

Lacazette slotted in the penalty.

And Aubameyang got it right. It did spark Lacazette into life. The Frenchman is now 5 in 6. Against West Ham, Lacazette scored twice. One of which was set up by Aubameyang.

What stuck in my mind re-watching the game last night was the celebration of the Arsenal players.

A huge fuss was made when the side looked split after Alexis Sanchez scored against Crystal Palace. It was back page news. Against West Ham, the team celebrated as one. And it was the final embrace that inspired this.

The last two to celebrate together were Lacazette and Aubameyang. A warm embrace. One which showed genuine friendship. Lacazette was delighted to have been scored, and Aubameyang looked equally as delighted for him.

It highlighted the togetherness of Arsenal’s record signings.

For Arsenal, top strikers have been like busses. We have waited a decade for a pacey, direct striker, then end up with two at once. And there has been plenty of talk about how they would fit together.

Can they play together? Will they be happy rotating? Might one end up leaving?

They might not be suitable to play together every game. With Henrik Mkhitaryan and Mesut Ozil to be added to the team, it will give the new manager plenty of food for thought on how to line up. What is for certain is with all 4, we have options. Different formations. Different tactics.

It should be remembered that for Dortmund. Aubameyang played a season alongside Robert Lewandowski. He was out wide with the Pole up top. It is a roll the he can perform.

The budding relationship between Aubameyang and Lacazette is one of the few positives from this season. And one that we can begin to get excited about next years.

Keenos

Alexandre Lacazette set for Arsenal exit

Arsenal never really wanted to sign Alexandre Lacazette.

Over the years, we were offered him up numerous times by Lyon. Each time a decision was made that the French international was not top level. Not good enough for The Arsenal. Inferior to Olivier Giroud (who starts ahead of him for France) and Alexis Sanchez.

Last summer we finally decided to sign him, for a club record price. But even then, we did not really want him.

He was due to join Atlético Madrid. Everything was in place, the deal was done. Madrid were then hit with a transfer ban causing the deal to fall through.

At the same time in North London, Arsenal were struggling to keep their two big stars. Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez were refusing to sign a new deal. Arsenal needed a big name signing. And the deal for Lacazette fell into the clubs laps.

Roll forward 9 months and the deal that took Lacazette to Arsenal certainly feels like one of opportunity rather than one that Arsenal actually wanted. He was available, and Arsenal needed a big name signing, even if they didn’t need the exact player.

The fact that in January Arsenal moved for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang highlights the club were never quite convinced by Lacazette. And now we sit here discussing how we can fit our two record signings into the same team.

I believe we will go down a different route.

 

Instead of trying to fit Lacazette and Aubameyang into the same team, Lacazette will leave Arsenal in the summer.

In the meantime, they will split the work load. Aubemeyang starting in the Premier League, Lacazette in Europe – as Aubemeyang is cup-tied.

Over at Atlético, the transfer ban is set to be lifted. Antoine Griezmann looks set to leave for Barcelona, and they will be going all out for a replacement.

Top of their list will be the man they nearly signed last summer. Alexandre Lacazette.

Will it be so shocking for the Spanish side to offer up the same money what Arsenal gave to Lyon to secure their man? It would be an easy deal for them to make, having been so close last summer. And it would also be a deal that Arsenal might be happy doing.

With Aubameyang now at Arsenal – and performing – the club will likely look to build the team around the triangle of the Gabonian, Henrik Mkhyitaryan and Mesut Ozil. This leaves Alexandre Lacazette as the odd man out.

Having had to sell Olivier Giroud to Chelsea to force through the Aubameyang deal, Arsenal’s strike force looks a bit “samey”. Danny Welbeck, Lacazette and Aubameyang are all great at running in behind, but none are exactly a big presence up top like Giroud was. This means we now lack a plan B.

Moving Lacazette on will free up space (and wages) to get a Giroud-esque player in. A lump of a forward who could then compliment Aubameyang. Give us an option on the bench. A battering ram. Maybe Chelsea would return Giroud to us?

Arsenal need someone like Mario Mandžukić from Juventus or Bas Dost from Sporting. These guys have real physical presence about them and give us that different option off the bench.

Alexandre Lacazette’s stay at Arsenal may well be over before it really began.

Keenos