Alexandre Lacazette arrived at Arsenal last summer with a massive goalscoring reputation in France, but Arsene Wenger did not seem to have placed his trust in the prolific Frenchman and the hitman rarely stayed on the pitch for more than 70 minutes at a time and the goals dried up.
His confidence took an even bigger hit when the Gunners brought in Aubameyang in January and Lacazette was relegated to the bench, but with the Gabon international disqualified from playing in the Europa League, Lacazette will get some more chances to prove that he has finally settled into London and the first team squad.
He has had to sit on the sidelines and watch Aubameyang bang in the goals, and the ex-Chelsea star Frank Lampard hopes that Lacazette has learned from watching his replacement in action. “Alexandre Lacazette has been handed a big challenge at Arsenal by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and now he must rise to it,” Lampard said. “I have watched a lot of Lacazette this season and so far he hasn’t done enough for me as a striker. I just don’t understand why he is not testing the backline all the time by running in behind.
“He is quick enough and has come to the Premier League from Lyon with a goal-scoring pedigree.
“But his body language has just not looked right at times. He looks like a player who doesn’t want to make those kind of runs. It is strange because Arsenal have the players that slip balls through.
“Aubameyang is already taking advantage of that – he knows running into the box is where you get your chances.
“Now is the time Lacazette has to cut out everything going on outside. He is a bit hurt that the club have gone out and spent money in January on Aubameyang but it’s still all there for him.
“Aubameyang is cup-tied in the Europa League so he knows there is a great chance to start every game.
“Arsenal will need him if they get past CSKA Moscow as expected on Thursday and then play teams like Atletico Madrid or Lazio in the last four. Strikers make the difference in these kind of games.
“There is even more scrutiny on him. If he can show he can react, then there’s nothing wrong with Arsenal having two top strikers in the squad, whether they play together or are rotated.”
He is certain to start on Thursday against CSKA Moscow after getting a couple of run outs under his belt, and now that we have lost Henrik Mhkitaryan to injury as well he will likely be partnered by Danny Welbeck up front. Lacazette needs to outperform the Englishman as well or he may find himself dropping even further down the pecking order. Will he rise to the occasion at last?