It has been an underwhelming start to life at Arsenal for Alexandre Lacazette. Considering the money spent in the summer to get the striker to sign from Lyon – and perhaps the weight of expectation based on previous great Frenchmen to don the shirt – he has struggled to show his quality.
The 25-year-old former Lyon man had built a reputation as a clinical goalscorer in the French Ligue 1, but has found the Premier League tougher to negotiate. Despite a good start, which saw him score four goals before September was out, he has struggled in recent months.
The France international will be out for around another six weeks with a knee injury, which represents a blow to his hopes of figuring in Didier Deschamps’ first team plans for the World Cup in Russia this summer.
Not only that, his place at Arsenal is now in doubt. There are reports that he could even leave the club this summer following the arrival of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who starred on his debut: a 5-1 trouncing of Everton that Lacazette didn’t feature in.
The 5’9″ front man can’t complain of a lack of service but most times he spurns chances and doesn’t possess the movement needed as the spearhead of an Arsenal attack, known for its pace and interchanging ability. In the last league game away at Tottenham Hotspur, he spurned a glorious chance to level the scores late on. It was a miss he would have buried at Lyon, but his confidence at the moment is a tad low, a fact that Wenger has attributed his poor form to.
Lacazette’s wasteful finishing is underlined by the stats. Six strikers, including the 26-year-old, have played 20 or more Premier League games – the other five are Harry Kane, Sergio Aguero, Romelu Lukaku, Jamie Vardy and Salomon Rondon.
The latter plays for West Bromwich Albion, the Premier League’s bottom side with just 21 goals to their name all season. Only Rondon has scored a lower percentage of penalty area goals (13%) from the penalty area shots he has had – Lacazette is at 14%. By way of comparison, Kane and Lukaku are the next lowest at 18%, Aguero is 24% while Vardy is as high as 33%, even if he’s likely to get more one-on-one opportunities.
Given that Lacazette isn’t the type of striker that can create something out of nothing, or run the channels to support his teammates, he relies solely on a goalscoring output which, right now, simply is not good enough.