Arsenal’s striker situation is in a decent place for the short-term, but for the long-term, Alexandre Lacazette’s “good enough” isn’t good enough.
Mikel Arteta changed the Arsenal attack against Brighton. He pulled youth from the forefront and went for experience, sticking Alexandre Lacazette up top and Nicolas Pepe on the wing. The result was an exciting attack that looked capable of scoring at any given moment.
Overall, Lacazette did good enough. He played well. He combined with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang beautifully and showcased what makes him so exciting, moving well on and off the ball and playing unselfishly.
In the player ratings, I made the case that, compared to Eddie Nketiah, he was just as good. It’s a dead heat between these two strikers. Each one has yet to score, yet each one has played well enough for the attack to succeed in other circumstances.
Arsenal needs Alexandre Lacazette to do more… or else
But for Lacazette in particular, being just as good as Nketiah is not good enough. In fact, it’s bad. And for the long-term, it means that he is losing in a big way.
Nketiah is looking to prove that he can carry on the attack without Lacazette and/or Aubameyang. Moreso Lacazette, though, since Nketiah is more likely to play up top than on the wings. Especially with Aubameyang settling on the left.
As such, all Nketiah has to do is prove that he’s good enough to move forward with. Meaning that if he keeps pace with Lacazette, he wins.
Lacazette makes more money, he’s older, he has more transfer value. Nketiah is young, hungry, and craves just the opportunity to do more.
Lacazette has to do better if he’s trying to make a case for a prolonged stay. There’s no way around it. He’s treading water right now, but if he isn’t able to outswim Nketiah than all this is for nothing more than helping out in the short-term. Which isn’t the worst thing, of course. It’s nice to have two interchangeable strikers, each capable of holding the attack together and serving as the tip of the spear.
But long-term, it’s a clear victory for Nketiah. And overall, that makes it a clear victory for Arsenal too, since they’re learning what they can get from the youngster in comparison with that Lacazette can’t quite get to.
It’s something to watch for the rest of the season, but if Lacazette can’t do more, than what’s the point in keeping hold of him? Nketiah is just as good.