Arsene Wenger has expressed his pleasure in having Alexandre Lacazette available for the Europa League clash with CSKA Moscow.
The striker came in off the bench in the last weekend’s game against Stoke, and his influence was crucial in breaking down the well-organized defence of the visitors and securing the three points with a convincing result.
The manager compared his compatriot to Danny Welbeck. Describing Welbeck as a type of striker that likes to run in behind defences, he stressed Lacazette’s contribution in link-up play is also very valuable and that the best option is to have them both available.
Wenger also explained that watching him in training, he realized Lacazette wasn’t at his best for a while, though he would always state everything was fine. His contribution on the pitch was far from bad even then, but it now seems is knee had been giving him trouble for the last several games he played before his absence.
Given Pierre-Emerick Aubemeyang’s ineligibility to play for Arsenal in the Europa League, the return of Lacazette not only boosts Wenger’s options, but also takes a bit of pressure off the shoulders of Welbeck.
A decent striker in his own right, Welbeck is not exactly the level of player a club like Arsenal should be depending on, though he played very well in the round of 16 against AC Milan. As Wenger explained, they are different types of attacking players, but they are also on different levels.
Lacazette’s debut season in the Premier League maybe hasn’t produced the effect everyone at the club had been hoping for, but that’s understandable. Should he keep injury-free, we should expect to see great stuff from this player in the next campaign. As for this one, it is certainly great to have him back and fully fit for the run-in, as the Gunners have a crack at the Europa League trophy, and a place in the next season’s Champions League.