By the time Arsenal returns to action after the mid-season break, it would have been a full calendar year since Alexandre Lacazette last
scored away from home in the Premier League.
The France striker has now gone 358 days since finding the net during the 2-1 win at
Huddersfield Town on February 9, 2019, and it’s becoming an increasingly big problem for Mikel Arteta.
With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang back available again after his ban, all the talk ahead of Arsenal’s game at Burnley on Sunday centered around who would make way for the Gabon international. Would it be Lacazette or would it be Gabriel Martinelli, who had scored twice during the three games Aubameyang had been sidelined?
In the end it was neither, with Nicolas Pepe the man left out. Arteta once again kept faith with Lacazette as his central striker and once again, that faith wasn’t repaid.
From the moment he headed well wide having been picked out by Aubameyang’s cross inside five minutes, Lacazette just never looked like scoring as the visitors toiled to a 0-0 draw – their 13th stalemate of the season.
And for Arteta, it’s a problem that he is going to have to find a solution to if Arsenal is going to kick on during the final months of the campaign.
It’s not just that Lacazette is not scoring, it’s that his continued presence in the starting XI means that Aubameyang is having to operate from out wide, rather than through the central areas.
And while Aubameyang also wasted a great chance in the first half at Turf Moor, it’s tough to criticize a man who has scored 14 times this season.
In fact, of Arsenal’s 14 away goals in the league this season, Aubameyang has nine. No-one else has scored more than two.
So keeping him out wide while Lacazette is struggling so much feels like it is increasingly hurting Arsenal.
This draw was their 13th in the league this season. That’s two more than anyone else in the top flight. They have won just six, the same as West Ham, who sit in the relegation zone.
It’s a lack of goals that is the major problem. We’re now into February and the Gunners still have a minus goal difference, even though they have only been beaten six times.
Finding a solution to that is going to be vital if Arteta wants to get anything out of these final few months of the season.
It must be noted that Lacazette is far from the only issue and it’s hardly like he is being given a constant supply line by those behind him. Mesut Ozil, for example, has now gone two years without a Premier League assist away from home and was replaced by Joe Willock at Turf Moor after another disappointing display.
But there’s no doubt Lacazette has to find some form quickly if he wants to justify his continued place in the side.
Since arriving in December, Arteta has improved Arsenal enormously at the back. His side plays with a structure now that is making them hard to beat.
Although Burnley had a couple of chances, one of which saw Jay Rodriguez hit the bar from close range, the visitors largely kept their hosts at arm’s length and were relatively untroubled, other than by set-pieces.
But now Arteta has to turn his attention to finding a solution for the lack of goals and getting more out of Lacazette has to be his primary action.
Sport Gist compiled by Raphael Nwabueze +2348189279268
Born in the 80’s, Ogefash picked up writing early in her secondary school days at International School, University of Lagos (Unilag). She took it professionally after her university days at the University of Lagos where she graduated from the Department of Mass Communication. She is a writer of several short stories some of which have been published in the magazines. Some of her popular stories are: A Night to Remember, The Special Gift, Haunted, Preparing Ahead of Time amongst others. Her novel "Looming Danger" published in December 2015, was highly recommended by people. She has worked with several media outlets some of which are Spur Magazine and Upcoming Magazine. She is an educationist. With her love for children, she took up the task of supervising and taking care of children at the After School Department of Heritage School before her resignation. Her unique strory telling and song teaching skills endeared her more to the kids she worked with. Ogefash is a goal getter, a pace setter and always strives for excellence. She likes to impact and solve problems in a creative way regardless how challenging they may be. She has in-depth knowledge in reporting, editing, social media and other media related works. She is a seasoned writer and very passionate about her work. Interestingly, her blog is the first in Nigeria to start reviewing Nigerian and foreign movies and also write the movies' plots scene by scene. Ogefash blog is also the first to translate songs, interprete and give a full detailed analysis about music and artistes in Nigeria, Africa and America before other blogs started emulating her style. While other blogs provided just music lyrics alone, we took it higher by not only providing lyrics, but translating, interpreting and analyzing as well.
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