Hello Gooners. How does it feel to see Tony Pulis fuming over yet another loss at the Emirates Stadium?
More than Mr. Baseball Cap’s moaning and more than the win against West Brom itself, what really gave me a wonderful feeling was watching Alexandre Lacazette: the Frenchman has been outstanding and the quality of his all-round play has been superb.
I won’t pretend I knew him to bits, or that I’ve watched every game played by Lyon in the past seven years, so his intelligent movement, elegant touch and deep understanding of the game really struck my eyes.
He’s been introduced to us as a deadly finisher, a composed poacher, the ultimate fox-in-the-box but he’s way more than that: on top of scoring goals for fun, which he’s already doing, he knows how to bring fellow teammates into play and also knows very well how to create spaces with his superb off-the-ball movement – something that we missed since Robin van Persie left.
The former Lyon man might not have the same creativity and flashes of genius that Robin van Persie had but he’s the same kind of forward, the one we needed so badly since the Dutchman left for Manchester United.
Alexis Sánchez could have been that man – and has been, although temporarily – but he didn’t really wish to play through the middle and is too wasteful with the ball, something that Alexandre Lacazette is not; while the Chilean guarantees chances and goals through a very heavy involvement, the Frenchman is more essential in his game and rarely gives the ball away.
A bit like Mesut Özil, he makes difficult moves look easy and might give the impression to disappear during a game, only to pick the right run, pass or shot at the very right moment.
He will surely struggle to maintain his impressive goal-to-shot ratio throughout the whole season but will always represent a serious threat to any defensive line, which will inevitably open spaces and give time on the ball to both Alexis Sánchez and Mesut Özil – usually the first players to be taken care of by rival defenders.
His unique style and set of skills, so different to Alexis Sánchez but also to Olivier Giroud, Theo Walcott and Danny Welbeck, makes Alexandre Lacazette the ideal partner for any of our forwards – as well as a preferred target for Mesut Özil through-balls and quick one-twos.
For those, like me, who were already very happy with a tidy, reliable finisher, having a complete forward like Alexandre Lacazette leading the line is a pleasant surprise and a good reason to look at the current season with higher hopes and better expectations.
The newly-signed striker won’t solve all our problems by himself but will surely generate some problems to any rival – domestic or European.
The idea of him, Alexis Sánchez and Mesut Özil waltzing around the box makes me look forward to the next game, something that has been fading away in the past six months, unfortunately; for too long we’ve looked unexciting and lost the va-va-voom factor, these three (plus Olivier Giroud, Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, Alex Iwobi and Danny Welbeck), could restore some of our flowing, breath-taking football.
The big regret is that this fantastic trio of forwards looks set to play together for one season, only.