Arsenal Boss Mikel Arteta Praises Alexandre Lacazette Amid Goalscoring Struggles

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistJanuary 3, 2020

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 01: Alexandre Lacazette of Arsenal during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Manchester United at Emirates Stadium on January 1, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images)
James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has backed Alexandre Lacazette to start finding the back of the net again soon and has hinted a rest might be beneficial for the France international.

Since arriving at the Emirates Stadium in the summer of 2017, Lacazette has been one of the best forwards in the Premier League. However, this term has been a struggle for him, with just five goals scored in the top flight. 

One of Arteta's main tasks as manager will be getting Lacazette into a ruthless mood in front of goal, and he's said one strike might be enough to turn around the 28-year-old's fortunes, per James Olley of the Evening Standard:

"He had the chances to put away [against United]. He has been really helpful in giving us a lot of options. He makes his team-mates better, that’s one of the biggest qualities.

"As well, every time he is in front of goal normally he is so clinical. I am disappointed that he hasn’t been rewarded with all the work he has done in the last three games because he could have scored three or four goals easily. But the goal will come for him naturally because he is a natural finisher.

"Does he just need one to go in anyhow? Exactly. And maybe a little bit fresher legs will help as well.”

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Lacazette started at the point of the attack on Wednesday in the Gunners' 2-0 win over Manchester United:

Although he wasn't on the scoresheet in that encounter, the former Lyon man offered a reminder of the quality he can bring to a team.

Lacazette's movement in the final third and link play was key to the Gunners pinning back the Red Devils, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Mesut Ozil and Nicolas Pepe benefitting from some selfless play from the Frenchman.

Per Sam Dean of the Daily Telegraph, it was the first time that Arsenal's four high-profile attacking stars have lined up in the same side.

James Benge of Football.London noted the striker is being used in a position now that's more suited to his skillset:

At his best last season, Lacazette was frequently lauded for his all-round game, although he was also a prolific finisher, scoring 19 times in all competitions.

Since his arrival at the Emirates Stadium, Arteta appears to have triggered more belief in a number of key players, with Ozil and Pepe particularly impressive against the Red Devils after otherwise indifferent seasons.

Lacazette's return won't represent a major concern for the team yet, as they have one of the best goalscorers in the game on their books in Aubameyang. However, if the Arsenal No. 9 can find his shooting boots in 2020, then the Gunners will make rapid progress up the Premier League table.