Why has Lacazette not started each match

By Tony Attwood

There are four possible reasons I can see why Laca has not started each match so far this season:

First, by having one of our three forwards coming on fresh in the second half we can catch out the defence as they tire.

Second, the three forwards have not practiced enough together yet so the tactics need more work on them to make a three man wall of attack work properly.

Third, having three out and out attackers weakens the defence, and they haven’t practiced that yet.

Fourth, and continuing on from the third point above, we need our back four in top condition before trusting to three out and out attackers who don’t drop back meaningfully.

Now that perfect back four would be (at least for me)

Bellerin    Holding   Sokratis  Tirney

With those four playing we could feel safer in terms of the defence and so play the three mainstream attackers together.  That leaves us three midfield places… that might be a combination of three from Xhaka, Guendouzi, Ceballos, Torreira, Ozil, and Maitland-Niles.

But it is interesting that it is not only this year that Lacazette has not started games in August against other teams who have ended up in the top six the season before.  It has happened before.  That to me emphasises the first and third points above.

Looking at that situation one wonders if he is one of those players who takes longer than others to get to full fitness at the start of the season.

If we look at Lacazette’s form through his career we can see that at Arsenal he has not been performing at anything like the quality in terms of goal scoring that he achieved before in the season before, at Lyon.

For his first four years at Lyon he was a most modest scorer, his best season being 5 goals in 29 league games in 2011/12, primarily because he was at that time a winger.  The following season it was 3 in 31.

But then suddenly it all changed as Laca became the centre forward.  In 2013/14 Lacazette scored 15 goals in 36 games.  In 2014/15 it was 27 in 33, and this rate continued with 21 in 34 in 2015/16 and 28 in 30 in 2016/17.

Now with Arsenal he has been back towards his earlier form with 14 in 32 in his first Arsenal season and 13 in 35 in his second Arsenal season.

But as we know he also scored a couple of goals in his first Europa League match for the club, in the 4-1 defeat of CSKA Moscow.   He also scored in the Europa semi-final 1-1 draw with Atlético Madrid.  And what made that interesting was that it was his seventh goal in seven games, since recovering from an injury.

As for 2018/19, the fact that he was voted our player of the season tells us quite a lot, especially when he was named as a substitute at the start by Mr Emery.  Indeed last season he didn’t get his first start until the 2-3 away win over Cardiff at the start of September.

So what we are seeing here is the fact that Lacazette has a double importance to Arsenal.   First and most important, we have two centre forwards both of whom can play in the biggest of games.  If either gets injured we can still put out a highly competent goal scorer in the number nine position.

Second, he can play on the wing and I would not be surprised in a few weeks time to see us have the Pepe, Auba Laca forward line against hyper defensive kick ’em hard clubs residing in the lower reaches of the league, because there is a chance that with VAR doing its job those sorts of teams will start getting the yellow cards.

My thinking would be that some of these players find kicking Arsenal men such an habitual response that they will continue doing it even when on a yellow.  Or if they don’t do that they will back off so much that they give Aubameyang and Lacazette more and more space.

So for the Tottenham game, I suspect Lacazette might be on the beach once more, coming on with 30 minutes to go, but of course, that’s just my guess.

12 Replies to “Why has Lacazette not started each match”

  1. Ozil? Willock is more likely to start as he puts in a shift and doesn’t go missing too often. Xhaka shouldn’t be anywhere near the first team! And Lacazette does track back, hence why he concedes quite a few fouls, as well as winning the ball back. I’m sure Pepe will be instructed to do this too.
    I’d give Chambers a start with Holding, Sokratis and Luiz can both be very irrational and give away needless fouls at times.

    Oh, and if Laca is on the beach when we play the Spuds I guess he won’t be getting any game time at all?!

  2. My team would be

    Chambers Luiz Sokratis Montreal

    Torreira Cabelos Mkhatarian

    Pepe Lacazette Aubeyang,

  3. Playing all three front men is a mouthwatering prospect but I do agree we need to play 2 and hold one in reserve. Our midfield needs to improve quickly. I know that is easier said but if they manage to string some strong performances together it would help them move up a notch or two in strength and confidence.

    Big teams usually have the personnel to work their way through the middle or sides and also the capacity to connect long or medium balls for the surprise goal. Guardiola’s Barca used long balls to great effect when the intricate passing failed to make a breakthrough. City does it too.

    Spurs next at home. After the Liverpool experience we should be thinking about putting our campaign back on track. that’s 3 points mentality.


    So Arsenal never beats or draws City but Spurs have done both…….. if we add CL games. Then Spurs lose to Newcastle who were beaten by Arsenal. So what will happen when Arsenal meet Spurs?

  4. lacazette is just getting over his ankle injure so if he ready he will play with our other two front men, according to todays media not the most reliable source I know. as for the rest let give them a chance to shine it only been three games so let not throw players to the side line yet and remember north London is red

  5. If Lacazette is fit he will against Spurs. I’m sure of that.

    My team would be


    Maitland-Niles,Luiz Sokratis Monreal

    Willock Cebalos, Guendouzi
    Pepe Lacazette Aubameyang

    Luiz to score!

  6. I don’t get this downer on Özil.

    He’s our most creative player by far and as I showed elsewhere his goals and assists stats stack up well with the best in the PL.

    His offensive stats are better than Ramsey’s were.

    He scores at the exact same rate as De Bruyne and Silva at City and matches Silva for assists and isn’t far behind De Bruyne.

    Defensively he’s not so good but he’s nowhere near the liability he’s made out to be, and haven’t we got other players supposed to do that job anyway?

    Yes if you don’t give him the ball it’s pointless having him in the side, but give him the ball and he can win you the match.

    I’m not having this ‘goes missing’ ‘doesn’t put in a shift’ and all the other derogatory things that are thrown at him, at least no more the most players of his type.

    Artistry is a rare and precious gift. Any fool can run around like a headless chicken.

  7. @Nitram: bravo! Dare i also add that he doesn’t have the personel guys like Silva and de Bruyne have.

  8. Nitram well put love watching ozil play media slag him all the time so the downers go a long with it can’t think for their self’s I hope we see him tomorrow

  9. thanks, nitram, for your defense of our german genius
    city and ‘pool almost made 100 points last year
    city always play with five of the following players: bsilva/de bruyne/dsilva/sterling/aguero/mahrez/jesus/sané
    as for ‘pool, and barring injuries, klopp would not even consider playing without one-third of his wild bunch salah/firmino/mané, plus the powerful, goalscoring wijnaldum right behind them, and two full-backs who are actually wingers
    and we couldn’t play pépé/joe/mesut/auba/laca together (all the more so since laca is very effective defensively, very good at biting the calves of the opposite team’s CBs, as geoff rightly put)… i just don’t get it
    must say i’m a bit worried ahead of unai’s NLD team selection, would love to see: leno/chambers-holding-luiz-kola/lucas/pépé-joe-mesut-auba/laca, but that’s just wishful thinking, unfortunately
    COYG, anyway

  10. Thanks lads.

    As I said on the other thread, as much as I love Ozil and wish he was played more often we don’t actually know why he isn’t.

    Is it just Emery doesn’t ‘fancy him’ as they say?

    Is it he’s not showing enough in training?

    Is it his fitness?

    Apparently Emery has been talking about Ozil and has said:

    “Last week he was sick for some days and he also lost a lot of training with his circumstances before with sead. My message to him is that first we need him to be consistent in training and then to be available for each match”

    Apparently he has missed 96 games since signing for us but has actually only suffered 1 serious injury.

    I can neither confirm or deny that but it’s in the Sun so it must be true !!

    So what to make of it?

    Is he like I said to Rosicky, and to use a horse racing term, just ‘hard to train’.

    Fragile ?

    Poor constitution ?

    Is he a hypochondriac ?

    Who knows?

    Either way, the critisism of him when he does play is totally unwarranted.

  11. My midfield trio is ozil/Willock, Xhaka, Torreira. Unai drops Lacazette probably due to his desire to dominate the mid field in some games. but his biggest challenge is to show the team performs better with out Lacazette in those circumstances.

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