A new era at Arsenal is fast approaching after the announcement that Arsene Wenger would be leaving his post as manager at the end of the season. The news hasn’t sunk in yet, but speculation grows regarding the future direction of the club. There is a lot of talent in the current squad and a new manager will have something to build on. However, it is clear that a rebuild is required if the Gunners are to emerge as a serious force once again.
One player that will want to be front and centre of the new Arsenal team is Alexandre Lacazette. The Frenchman has had a weird first season in England, with a return of 13 goals and three assists in the Premier League looking good on paper. However, he has been in-and-out of the first team, while the mid-season signing of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang put his long-term under threat.
It now looks like the signing of another big-name striker has lit a fire under Lacazette and he is producing his best football since arriving on these shores. In the month of April, he has scored six goals in six matches across all competitions, including two braces. The French international is hitting form at the business end of the season and will be a key player for Arsenal’s Europa League hopes. They are set to face-off with tournament favourites, Atletico Madrid, a club that the striker came close to joining last summer before his eventual move to North London. It would be poetic if he was the difference over the two legs.
This season may not have been a breakout one for Lacazette in England, but he hasn’t been given the credit he deserves for the impact he has had. The Frenchman has scored a Premier League goal every 157.7 minutes, which is a better ratio than both Romelu Lukaku (176.1) and Alvaro Morata (178). They are the other big money striking buys made during the past summer and Arsenal’s number nine has been the most prolific of the three.
Furthermore, Lacazette has caused constant problems for opposition defenders and his underlying stats reflect that. The 26-year-old is currently averaging 2.86 attempted shots and 1.36 chances created per ninety minutes with a shot accuracy of 69%. Meanwhile, Lukaku has averaged 2.72 attempted shots and 0.99 chances created with a shot accuracy of 63%.
Considering this has been his first season in England, Lacazette has fared well and there are encouraging signs for the next Arsenal manager. He will arrive and have the luxury of picking the Frenchman alongside Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The two players have already shown that they can play effectively with one another and they will get even better with more game-time. Although there are issues to be dealt with, their striking options are not one of them.
The next few weeks could propel Lacazette to being one of the stars of the team. He is in a rich vein of form and will be the team’s primary goal threat in the Europa League semi-final tie against Atletico due to Aubameyang being cup-tied. It is a huge opportunity and the next Gunners’ boss will be watching closely to see if he has the mentality to play well when it matters most.