New Arsenal Signing Alexandre Lacazette
17th July 2017. By Edward Stratmann.
Alexandre Lacazette followed on beautifully from his memorable, goalscoring debut vs Sydney FC on Thursday by putting in another encouraging shift in Arsenal’s second preseason friendly vs the Western Sydney Wanderers on Saturday.
Although he couldn’t get his name on the score sheet during the 3-1 win in front of a packed ANZ Stadium, Arsenal’s record signing, who cost a staggering £52.7 million, illustrated so many of his most endearing attributes from his interesting position on the left side of the Gunners’ attack.
Using his intelligent movement, Lacazette was constantly able to find vacant space to receive possession or to create space for a teammate. The biggest beneficiary of his aptitude in this regard was certainly Arsenal left wing-back, Ainsley Maitland Niles, as Lacazette would occupy the left half space which drew his direct opponent, Josh Risdon, slightly infield, thus manufacturing space out wide for Maitland-Niles to take advantage of.
Indeed, a fine demonstration arose from his effectiveness in the aforementioned zone during the build up to Arsenal’s opener, with the technically gifted Frenchman’s sublime flick to Nacho Monreal proving crucial in setting up Olivier Giroud to score.
In addition, the way Lacazette positioned himself on the shoulder of the last defender, in order to give himself an ideal platform to make his customarily dangerous runs in behind, plus would cunningly switch positions with Alex Iwobi on the right, only served to amplify his success on the night.
Coalescing so sharply and efficiently with his colleagues at this early stage of his Arsenal career was another huge positive, for he linked up crisply and his movement was nicely synchronised with his teammates, which his manager, Arsene Wenger, would’ve loved seeing.
Balanced, strong, powerful and quick, even though the 26-year-old is just two games into life at Arsenal, he couldn’t have hoped for a better start to the next chapter of his footballing journey. Wenger’s words on his new star signing sum up his all-round qualities aptly. “He is a player who has the style of play that we want to play,” he explained to Arsenal Player.
“His technical ability, his capacity to combine with other players around the box… He’s not only a goal-scorer, he can also provide. We want to play our football based on movement and he has that kind of quality.
“We are a team where pace plays a big part, and the modern game demands a lot of pace in transition from defence to offense. The quality of the runs are vital in that kind of game. The quality of his finishing is also absolutely exceptional. That’s of course important.”
Mesut Ozil then went onto add his excitement about playing alongside the instinctive Lacazette and how he believes he’ll compliment him perfectly, saying: “We all know about his quality, so we know what to expect. We’re really looking forward to playing with him and seeing him score.
“He will definitely enrich my game as well. My job is to play decisive passes so he can score as many goals as possible. He showed in Lyon how many goals he can score and I’m positive this will also be the case with Arsenal.”
With Arsenal now jetting off to continue their preseason crusade in China, every minute spent training and playing with his new colleagues will surely aid his assimilation, something that will prove vital in him being ready to hit the ground running come Arsenal’s season opener in the Community Shield vs Chelsea on August 6 at Wembley.
Although it remains to be seen whether he continues playing out wide or in his trademark number 9 role, the signing of Lacazette will unquestionably give Wenger plenty of tactical flexibility as how best to deploy him depending on the opposition. Whether imposing forward Olivier Giroud remains in North London will be a key determining factor in regard to how he’s utilised too.
If Wenger’s post match comments are anything to go by, though, it would appear the French tactician’s preference is to use Lacazette at centre forward. “Lacazette will play most of the time as centre forward,” he said. “He can play in any system because he’s a provider as well, he can combine and play in a 4-4-2.
“At the moment he plays a little bit behind Giroud, tonight he was more on the left, and he can play in that position as well.”
What this means for Giroud remains to be seen, but in the case of Lacazette, who already has the faith of his manager, all the signs are there for him to go on and show what a fantastic footballer he truly is at Arsenal.
More by Edward at Licence to Roam