Arsenal bought Alexander Lacazette in the summer for a then record club transfer fee, but the Frenchman has hardly ever played the full 90 minutes for the Gunners, and was relegated to the bench when we brought in Aubameyang in January. For some reason today Wenger has attempted to explain why the striker was usually substituted at around the 70 minute mark….
Wenger said: ‘I must say that [Lacazette] plays in a position where you sub more than say a defender,’ he said on Arsenal.com.
‘You substitute a striker more than you would a defender, because they always have to provoke, to defend, to attack, you have to create holes in the defences. The strikers are more subbed than others.
‘Secondly, he was in an adaptation period where I felt that, without any objective measurement, that sometimes he struggled a bit more in the second part of the game, especially in the last 20 minutes, to create the movement he can.
‘I put that down to an adaptation period. It was not so much physically – that didn’t drop so much – it just looked like he was a bit less sharp.’
So he says “without any objective measurement” and Laca didn’t drop physically but he also says that it was all based on stats! He said: “We know the players’ physical qualities and who we expect to drop in the second half or not,” the boss told the Arsenal Magazine. “Nobody’s tired enough at half time to be substituted for that, but in the second half you’ll see that sometimes this player will drop in the last 20 minutes.
“We have a fatigue factor coming in at different levels for everybody and we know the players who drop more in the second half than others. Some remain completely consistent and some even push upwards in the second half.
“There are players who drop up to 15 per cent in the second half, so you have to consider that in your substitutions. Even if you do make substitutions, you always try to keep one free because you know this guy could need to be substituted as well so you need to keep a place for him.”
This is all very confusing! What do you make of it?