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Can Alexandre Lacazette provide the consistency that Arsenal have been missing?

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 15:  Alexandre Lacazette of Arsenal enters the field of play during the match between the Western Sydney Wanderers and Arsenal FC at ANZ Stadium on July 15, 2017 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Zak Kaczmarek/Getty Images)
Alexandre Lacazette has a lot of expectations to live up to
Kieran Buggs
CONTRIBUTOR
Modified 19 Jul 2017, 19:16 IST
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The Arsenal club-record signing’s career in a Gunners shirt started off successfully, with a goal in his first match. Alexandre Lacazette was a much sought after signing for Arsenal fans, given their recent struggles in terms of a consistent striker. The 26-year-old joined the Gunners after a career-best season in Ligue 1, registering 28 goals during the campaign.

The North London side has needed a second conventional striker to provide some alternative to Olivier Giroud and have finally secured one, but can Lacazette provide the goalscoring service in the Premier League that Arsenal have been missing over the years?

Also read: 5 retired players who had a habit of scoring insane goals

A look back

VILLARREAL, SPAIN - APRIL 07:  Emmanuel Adebayor of Arsenal celebrates scoring his team
Everyone in Arsenal thought Emmanuel Adebayor would be Henry’s successor after his breakthrough season

The figures suggest that Arsenal have missed a consistent conventional striker capable netting a high goal tally consistently since Henry moved to Barcelona. Adebayor managed one high goalscoring season in 2007/08 scoring 24 goals following the Frenchman’s exit. The Togolese striker, however, then saw his tally drop to just ten goals in the next before moving to Manchester City in the succeeding summer.

A similar story follows for that of Robin van Persie. The Dutchman failed to show any signs of goalscoring consistency between his debut to the 2009/10 season. The 2010/11 season appeared to be a breakthrough from this trend as he on to score 18 goals, followed by a Premier League career-best of 30 goals in the season to follow, ultimately earning himself a move to the red half of Manchester.

It’s also worth noting that during this period time, Arsenal also had conventional strikers in the forms of Nicklas Bendtner and Eduardo. However, they failed to make any real goalscoring impact in their time at the Emirates.

Though both players reached a reasonable total for at least one season, they couldn’t match the consistency that Henry had previously displayed, scoring over 20 league goals for five consecutive seasons at the club.

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Although Henry was an anomaly of a player – Arsenal have missed the consistency and stability of a player who can bring home the goals in the way Henry did.

Also read: 6 Premier League dark horses who will challenge for the top six next season

Arsenal needed a proper goalscorer

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 15:  Olivier Giroud of Arsenal controls the ball during the match between the Western Sydney Wanderers and Arsenal FC at ANZ Stadium on July 15, 2017 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)
Giroud has never scored more than 16 goals in a league season for Arsenal

In the post Van Persie era, not much appeared to change. Giroud was signed to try and fill the goalscoring hole that the then 29-year-old had left following his outstanding season. However, Giroud never quite matched that level. There’s no doubt that Giroud has played his part in the Arsenal side, but having failed to score over 16 goals in a single Premier League season. For a club, such as Arsenal, who are looking to challenge for a long awaited Premier League title, Giroud doesn’t appear the man to be taking them there.

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This is not necessarily through any fault of his own. Giroud is a player who is a strong in the air, with approximately 36% of his goals in the league coming from headers alone. This is an issue in recent years for an Arsenal side whose crossing abilities haven’t been far from poor.

Giroud has not proven himself to be the consistent goalscorer that Arsenal need if they are to launch a proper title challenge, failing to score more than 16 goals in a season. Not to forget Giroud’s 2015/16 that was both poor and impressive, managing 16 league goals despite a 15-game long goal drought during the Premier League season.

Arsenal may, however, have found their answer to their search for consistency in Lacazette. The 26-year-old’s 28 goals last season meant that he scored more league goals than Giroud, Theo Walcott, Danny Welbeck and Lucas Perez league totals combined last season. Such a return is no strange feat for Lacazette, having scored more than 20 goals for the past three seasons.

This, of course, can be taken with a pinch of salt, with the goals coming in the French top division, meaning that he is not “Premier League proven”. However, the Frenchman means business in front of goal, netting 37 goals in 45 appearances across all competitions last term. 

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Lacazette is a player who looks to be much more suited to Arsenal’s style of play. Arsenal have a lot of pace in their squad, a key component in Arsenal’s attack, however, Giroud is not the fastest of players. Lacazette, has the pace and power when moving forward, something that Arsenal have missed since Henry’s exit. Along with his clinical finishing, Lacazette certainly has shown his ability in front of goal, converting 38.9% of chances he took last season, offering the best conversion rate amongst strikers who had scored over 20 goals in Europe’s top five leagues last season.

We must wait and see as to whether Lacazette can provide a similar amount of goals in the Premier League as he has over the past three seasons. But, coming from his best career form from last season, as well as moving into a team that boasts Mesut Ozil’s brilliance behind the striker, it looks likely that Lacazette could be the player to save Arsenal from their goalscoring woes.

Also read: 5 of the greatest managerial coups in Premier League history

Published 19 Jul 2017, 18:42 IST
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