Arteta salutes Lacazette's attitude and acknowledges Mari's strong adaptation
- Alexandre Lacazette's focus and concentration off the bench left Mikel Arteta thrilled with the striker's attitude.
Mikel Arteta applauded Alexandre Lacazette's attitude after he came off the bench to score Arsenal's winner against West Ham.
France international Lacazette was left on the bench in favour of Eddie Nketiah, who was making his third Premier League start since returning from a short loan spell with Leeds United in January.
With the match still goalless approaching the hour mark, Arteta looked to Lacazette and he took the place of Nketiah – the former Lyon striker eventually sealing victory for the Gunners 12 minutes from time.
Arteta explained his choice of Nketiah came down to the profile of defender Arsenal were set to face, but he was impressed by Lacazette's focus and concentration despite likely frustration at not starting.
"I have two strikers at the moment that are making life difficult for me, but at the same time it's very good," Arteta told reporters.
"They are both scoring, they are both in a good moment. I decided to play Eddie today for the type of defenders they had and the game plan we had, but knowing that we needed Laca [Lacazette] in the final moments.
"He was ready to do that. I saw it straight away the moment I was talking with him, giving him instructions on the touchline.
"He was alert, focused and I could see in his face he was really determined to come out there and score the goal like he did."
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang started on the left flank once again, but Arteta conceded he is using the Gabon forward and Gabriel Martinelli out wide due to a lack of options.
When asked if he sees Aubameyang and Martinelli as central forwards, Arteta said: "They are, but with the squad balance we have at the moment, to play in that position on the left, we don't have five players because we're using one of them to play as a left-back who is not a left-back.
"So, we're just trying to adapt to the situation we have. We try to put in the team players that have a goal threat, that can be successful for the team and that's part of managing the players that we have."
January signing Pablo Mari made his second successive start and earned another clean sheet, and Arteta is impressed with his adaptation.
"Good point, I'll take your advice then," Arteta said after it was put to him that Mari will have to start their next game as well.
"If it's as simple as that hopefully he'll do it again at Manchester City and he'll get a clean sheet. But no, he's doing well, he's adapting really well.
"It's not an easy league. For central defenders, in my opinion, to play in the Premier League is one of the toughest positions to play for any foreign players.
"But he's very willing, he's learning and has a very good experience and understanding with his team-mates."Published 08 Mar 2020, 01:18 IST