Arsenal’s new £17 million striker may have taken a few games to settle into things at the club, but after grabbing his first goals for the Arsenal against Nottingham Forest, Lucas Perez is looking confident. There had been some doubts that Arsene Wenger believed the new striker wasn’t quite ready for the new style of play and physicality of the game in England, however Lucas’ solo run that ended in a goal proved to many that he definitely offers Arsenal something new when driving forward with the ball.
Arsenal’s former man Alan Smith, a striker himself in his day, thinks that Lucas offers Arsenal a new game plan, after the Gunners have seemed to have no plan B for quite a while. Smith told Sky Sports: “It was good to see him do well and it was good to see him causing damage through the middle. On his debut he was drifting into the harmless areas but that might have been a confidence thing. The goals will certainly boost his morale. [Alexis] Sanchez has been playing as a false nine, so Perez definitely gives them another option.
“He’s a strong boy, you saw that with the solo goal he scored. He won’t get bullied and he’s got a bit of pace about him. It’s a contrast to what they had already and that’s what they needed. He might be a late developer but he’s a good option for Arsene Wenger.”
Arsenal fans have been frustrated for many years by the lack of diverse attacking options amongst the squad. For so many of the last seasons we have seen just the one solo striker in Olivier Giroud and if he isn’t cutting it in matches, then Arsenal often have no PLAN B to resort to. Now Arsenal have Giroud, who can play against the stronger, taller defenders, although Lucas also proved with his solo goal that he has plenty of strength and fight in his determination to score. Lucas on the other hand can be used against the defenders with more pace, as he is far more mobile than Giroud both on and off the ball.
It may have taken a few matches for Lucas to get into his stride and score his first goals for the Gunners, but now that he has those goals I’m feeling fairly confident that he will be pushing on in confidence to get more over the next few weeks. As Alan Smith recognises, Lucas has the ability to drift in and out amongst the defenders and the Spaniard’s flexibility to also play on the wing, means that he has a very good idea about what kind of runs the wingers will want the striker to make. Arsenal’s style of play has often been to cross the ball into Giroud, as that is where his biggest strengths lie, but with Lucas Perez, the feeders of the ball can finally attempt a variation of passes in order to get our newest face in front of goal.
Another positive is that it seems we have found another competent penalty taker, for when Cazorla is unavailable. We can’t keep Alexis and Walcott on pens Arsene!