Arsenal Vs Manchester City: What has Alexandre Lacazette done wrong?

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 05: Alexandre Lacazette of Arsenal celebrates scoring his sides first goal during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Arsenal at Etihad Stadium on November 5, 2017 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 05: Alexandre Lacazette of Arsenal celebrates scoring his sides first goal during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Arsenal at Etihad Stadium on November 5, 2017 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images) /
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Alexandre Lacazette was dropped for Arsenal’s match against Manchester City. He was also dropped for their trip to Liverpool. What in the world has he done wrong?

As Arsenal prepared to travel to Anfield to face a Liverpool side that had shown blistering pace in their sweeping attacking play, with the return of Alexis Sanchez, it was hoped that they would be able to fight fire with fire, playing the Chilean alongside Mesut Ozil and Alexandre Lacazette. Such hopes, though, were scuppered, as Arsene Wenger chose to drop Lacazette.

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As Arsenal prepared to travel to the Etihad to face a Manchester City side that had shown blistering pace in their sweeping attacking play, it was hoped that they would be able to fight fire with fire, playing Sanchez alongside Ozil and Lacazette, as had been the case against Everton and Swansea in the past two weeks. Such hopes, though, were scuppered, as Wenger chose to drop Lacazette. There is a pattern developing.

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During the days before Sunday’s 3-1 loss to City, there was much uncertainty surrounding Wenger’s team selection. The combination of injuries to key players and the quality of the opponent meant that Wenger had a riddle to solve. The solution that he came up with did not involve Lacazette.

But when Lacazette was introduced in the second half, he showed that he perhaps should have been. Lacazette provided a target off of which Arsenal could play. Although he is not huge in stature or power, he is extremely intelligent. He understands his body position, has a soft and subtle touch, and can command defender’s attention, creating space and time for those around him.

That ability allowed the visitors to play. They pushed higher up the pitch, they pressed City with more vigour and intensity, and they created chances. And Lacazette would be the man who scored.

As Aaron Ramsey broke from midfield, driving at an exposed City defence, Lacazette peeled off to the right, took two touches to set himself, before firing through Ederson’s legs to give the Gunners a glimmer of hope. That hope would ultimately lead to nothing. But the influence of Lacazette was nonetheless noticeable, raising questions as to why he was dropped in the first place.

Additionally, the striker is the club-record signing. Now, it would be ridiculous to play a particular player because they are expensive. But Lacazette’s omission does lead to a rather testing question: Was Wenger wrong in signing him? Or was he wrong in not playing him? One must be true. Neither is good.

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Lacazette’s absence is puzzling. It is difficult to understand. But Wenger must have a reason, not that I can fathom what it is. What a worrying pattern indeed.