When Arsene Wenger signed a new contract to continue his reign as Arsenal manager, he knew he had to make a marquee signing. He did this by bringing in French international striker Alexandre Lacazette from Lyon for over £46 million.
Fans were excited and everyone at the club saw this as a sign of intent. The pacey winger turned prolific goal scorer is akin to an in-his-prime Ian Wright, who didn’t do too badly as an Arsenal player.
However, he hasn’t exactly been the spark to reignite the Gunners’ fortunes and they still find themselves outside the Premier League’s top four.
It isn’t fair to put this down to Lacazette but it does pose the question, is he lacking the impact everyone expected?
Under-Used or Time to Adapt?
Wenger has been criticised for under-using Lacazette, whilst the striker himself has confessed, as reported by The Mirror, that he is still adapting to life in England.
The striker has played a part in all eleven league matches this season, although he has only completed ninety-minutes once. He has been taken off in eight of his nine starts, whilst he has started on the bench twice.
At Manchester City at the start of November, Wenger opted to leave Lacazette on the bench in a decision widely criticised by fans, pundits, and the media alike.
Lacazette was introduced after 59 minutes, with City already 2-0 up, and it took just six minutes for him to score. It proved to be too little though, as the Manchester club scored again to win 3-1.
So, is Wenger under-using him, as some critics have suggested or is he simply giving him time to adapt to English football?
Let us look at Lacazette’s early Arsenal statistics, using the official Premier League site and Transfermarkt.
So far, he has made eleven league appearances and scored six goals. This is a goals per match ratio of 0.55 or every 125 minutes.
At Lyon last season, he scored twenty-eight goals in thirty games with a goal every eighty-six minutes.
Obviously, the 2016/17 season marked his eighth season at Lyon so his goal scoring record could improve with time.
Paddy Power football betting odds indicate he has the potential to improve, as he is still sixth place in the betting to finish Premier League top scorer this season.
Other statistics show he has had twenty-two shots on goal, with twelve on target at a shooting accuracy of 55%. Four big chances have been missed and he is yet to assist a goal.
He has only created one big chance for a teammate and has only made seven tackles.
So, Is Lacazette Lacking the Desired Impact?
Looking back at Alexis Sanchez’s first season at Arsenal, in 2014/15, we see that he netted sixteen goals in thirty-five appearances, at a ratio of 0.46 goals per match. He had 121 shots on goal, with forty-nine on target, which is an accuracy of 40%.
So, Lacazette’s statistics are better than Sanchez’s were. Which suggest he should be given more of a chance to show what he can do.
Wenger may feel like he’s protecting his star acquisition but he could be harming the team’s chances in the process.
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