Arsenal: How far can Alexandre Lacazette caveats carry him?

Arsenal, Alexandre Lacazette (Photo by Mike Egerton/Pool via Getty Images)
Arsenal, Alexandre Lacazette (Photo by Mike Egerton/Pool via Getty Images) /

Alexandre Lacazette’s Arsenal career has been characterized by caveats to excuse his lack of goals. But how long can that go on?

As the reigning player of the season, Alexandre Lacazette still holds significant sway at Arsenal, and fans have long sided with him. Rather than criticize his lack of scoring goals, they excuse it and focus on what he does outside of the goal production. Much like Roberto Firmino over at Liverpool.

The proof is in his player of the season last year when he managed just 13 goals and eight assists, a far cry from what a top-tier striker should be producing. It’s what he does outside of the goals—his movement and hold-up play, that make him special.

That’s fine. I’ve always agreed with that principle because I see how much work he puts in outside of his goals. But I also see the tremendous stress he puts us under when he can’t score goals because his confidence is pretty much shattered.

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So my question is—how far can Lacazette’s career here go if we are constantly attaching caveats to his performance?

I say this with Leicester City in mind.

Against Leicester City—as well as against Sheffield United and Norwich City too—Lacazette had so many chances that went by the wayside, squandered. Against Leicester City in particular he had two golden opportunities. One, another tame header that he stuck right into the keeper, another requiring a pretty stellar save.

Regardless, these are chances that, had they been put away, likely would have changed the game. Now, I don’t like to play the “if… then…” game. In fact, I hate it. But it’s not like this was a one-time thing. Lacazette’s finishing has been piss-poor all year, going back to last year in his best season ever.

And that’s the big question, isn’t it? Can we do better than Lacazette while keeping in mind that his goals aren’t the chief comparison? When we look at guys like Luka Jovic and Odsonne Edouard, we immediately compare goals, but we can’t do that with Lacazette, remember? Because of that caveat.

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I’m not saying this is an easy question to answer. How do you compare a player with so many caveats? How do you quantify how many goals his hold-up play is worth? I just know that I’m growing increasingly frustrated by his inability to finish. And I was a huge Olivier Giroud fan.