Arteta decisions questioned after Arsenal’s most ‘clinical’ forward overlooked

Tony Cascarino has questioned Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta’s decision to overlook Alexandre Lacazette, who he claims is their most clinical option up front.

The Frenchman was left as an unused substitute as the Gunners won their first Premier League match of the season when beating Norwich on Saturday, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang favoured to play as the sole striker ahead of Bukayo Saka, Nicolas Pepe and Martin Odegaard.

Despite failing to break the deadlock after an hour of action, the front four remained unchanged throughout the entire 90 minutes, while Emile Smith Rowe and Thomas Partey were brought on to freshen up the midfield as we went in search of the elusive goal, with the pair on the pitch around five minutes before our breakthrough came.

Cascarino was surprised that it was Lacazette who was overlooked however, by claiming that he is the most clinical of them all.

‘He [Arteta] made a lot of changes [vs Norwich], the big one was the goalkeeper, he brought in Ramsdale for Leno which is a brave call. Lacazette still can’t get in the starting line-up and I find that quite strange,’ Cascarino told TalkSPORT.

‘Out of all the Arsenal strikers, I know they’ve got Aubameyang, but I think he’s more clinical, and I think he can get 10-15 goals quite comfortably. It was a big 3 points after all the stuff surrounding it.

‘Arteta spoke about the difficulty of the last 10-15 days, used it as a positive and thought it was beneficial to them of getting over the line.

’It was always going to be difficult if they didn’t score early, it can be a difficult place to play, grumbling on the terraces where fans are getting upset. You can tell their situation is pretty dire.’

Could Lacazette be fazed out of the team with his contract expiring next summer? Should he be playing a key role this term?


Tags Alexandre Lacazette Tony Cascarino


  1. Arteta does not like Laca at all. Even if he scores regularly, he will not be fielded consistently. Last
    season he was put on the bench on big games
    while the likes of Eddi and Auba played. He spent
    the better part on the bench and off the pitch..

    It was only when Auba got injured did he play and
    became top scorer for the team even with those limited minutes. As soon as Auba returned, Laca found himself back out of the team or on the bench even when Auba was misfiring game in and game out. That is Arteta for you

    1. I’ve noticed some fans struggling to remember the context last season regarding Pepe and Laca.

      Laca was on a pretty long goal drought and couldn’t seem to hit a barn door (remember his celebration against Newcastle when he scored his first goal for 9 games?). Similarly Pepe had been completely ineffectual for the best part of the first half of the season. Both played big roles in the second half of the season as their form picked up. I recall on this site most were calling for both to be dropped.

      Short memories…

  2. On this occasion, I agree with Cascarino.I think Lacca is our best CF who has an ability to hold up the ball and link with our attacking midfielders and our wide men. In my opinion he is superior to Auba in a number of areas including ball skills and, very importantly, workrate.

    1. The man is full of BS . There was no grumbling from terraces. Lacca isnt on form. Creativity was the issue hence ESR.

  3. I doubt Arteta coaching prowess following his team selection sometimes. I remembered last season we had difficulty scoring against opponents while we had an offensive player in Lacazette, our genius coach prefer fielding willian or nketiah both of whom aren’t even as offensive as Lacazette. Imagine us wanting to buy tammy when we have Lacazette, is tammy better than laca? No. As far as I am concerned I think even the young players like playing with laca becos he is team player. Or maybe there are things unknown to us behind the scene about laca that only Arteta knows.

    1. Arteta is a novice. Arsenal needs a more experienced coach. Besides, his leadership style is not the one for a big job. He easily falls out with players and doesn’t know how to repair the relationship

  4. I stats clearing show that Cascarino is wrong, the goals per min is heavily in favour of Auba.
    By now we also know that these two can play together, the team is better off by use one of them and play the fast good ball players around the one striker.
    Secondly, game plan, how we are playing, except for Odegaard, the rest of them is plenty fast, that including Tierney, so we are going to play with pace and Auba is the man for that.
    Lastly, we need to play the one first that is going to fit the game plan and we need to give that one first opportunity to gain as much confidence as possible.
    The decision here is quit obvious and I am in total agreement with the one eye, he got this one right.

    1. Two years ago we wouldn’t be having this conversation, Auba was one of the top strikers in Europe, but I’d be utterly shocked if the team as a whole scored more goals per game *last season* with Auba as opposed to Laca. If it were somehow true I could only think the quality of opposition was far lower when Auba was playing, but I doubt that would be true.
      I imagine your stats relate to auba’s entire Arsenal career, and he was brilliant for most of it (carried the team for a long time in my view), but we can’t afford to be sentimental here. The team now generally plays better with Laca through the middle, and he scored more goals last season – he’s not perfect and doesn’t always impact the game as much as I’d like but he’s been a lot better than Auba for the last 9 months or so and should be the first choice for that position. I believe he would be were it not for auba’s contact and our need to justify that contact.
      Btw I see your point about using auba’s pace, but that might not work so well against more defensively sound teams than Norwich, of which there are plenty, and Auba doesn’t have as much pace as he used to – we may find out against Burnley

      1. Hi dave you see one of my expertise is to educate the school of blindness. Lac is now in his fifth season at Arsenal and he have NEVER strike at any rate as what is expecting from a top 6 club striker.
        Laca played most of the time striker last season and not Auba, Auba was most of the time at wing, and he but just out score Auba. Combine with the team poor play especially our creative problems and the other problems Auba experience that little bit more goals by Laca over Auba is definitely not SIGNIFICANT
        According to you the team now generally plays better with Laca through the middle, I am not sure about which one of the 4 season you are talking about because all was very much average. And if you are talking about the last season, it was the worst season in about 26 years and we were breaking bad records left, right and center that were 50 year and older.
        Laca is so average the last 4 year he can’t even get past another average striker Giroud in the France national team. We try to sell him just now, but nobody wanted him. Yes pandemic made it difficult for most club, but our asking prize was apparently low.
        I don’t want to the coach who will be depending on a striker in the last couple of games that probably already have agreement with other club.
        Auba already had 4 goals in about 3 games in all competitions this year and you can clearly see he is getting his confidence back. And with the energy from the likes of Pepe, Sake, ESR, Tierney and Tomiyasu show, we will definitely see more goals from Auba this season, hope you keeping your eyes open.

  5. Dear old Tony – never misses an opportunity does he?
    However, it does seem that Lacs has to be twice as effective as Auba in order to be considered.
    Just as our two previous managers were accused of having “favourites” perhaps this applies to MA?

    1. Ken, Surely all managers have “favourites”. Isn’t that obvious! Why pick any player, by free choice, whom you don’t favour, after all!!

      1. True, but the thing with Auba is getting a bit much – he hasn’t looked remotely good enough to justify his first choice status in over a year, probably since the FA cup final? I do believe Wenger, and especially Emery would have dropped him by now, given others have been playing better.
        I do believe there’s some mitigating circumstances that are leading MA to believe that auba’s form is still temporary, to be honest – hope it’s that and not just the need to justify his contract (a la Willian).

  6. This article makes a lot of sense. If we played more regularly with Laca in the last campaign, we should have been better than where we got. Aubanyang looks lost in the field and lacking total confindence. On a number of occasions where he should have pushed the ball forward as he usually does before attempting to shoot, he decided to kick straight away.

    First it was a Kieran Tierney long pass where he should have tried to turn the ball pass the defender onto his right foot but he kicked it out.

    At the close of the game, ESR put him on the run. Again he should have turned the ball onto his right foot. He went for a weak kick with his left foot and made a gift to the goal keeper.
    Laca should heve scored at least one of those goals.

  7. I find you people argument healthy for our new recruitment.i feel auba is statistically better than laca per goal but laca makes our culture(style of play)more evident,i know it will be very difficult to play those two on the pitch right now considering the talents available now that need to play as take is if we can’t win games as frequent as we supposed atleast we should have dominance on the pitch with that it will be difficult to win us atleast we can say this about Wenger’s era.

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