He may have made the briefest of cameo appearances in Arsenal’s opening pre-season match against Sydney FC in Australia, yet Alexandre Lacazette showed within 15 minutes of his debut why Gunners boss Arsene Wenger decided to spend big on the 26-year-old striker.
Wenger confirmed in his pre-match press conference that Lacazette would feature in both of Arsenal’s Australia friendlies this week but he started the match on the substitutes bench as fellow newboy Sead Kolasinac took his place in the back three at the ANZ Stadium.
A blend of youth and first team experience made up Wenger’s starting eleven with the English trio of Reiss Nelson, Joe Willock and Cohen Bramall thoroughly impressing just days after the departures of highly-rated academy starlets Chris Willock and Dan Crowley.
Arsenal’s highest ever pre-season attendance saw 80,432 supporters, many of whom were Gooners, witness Lacazette’s debut goal after he was played in following an assist from Alex Iwobi. He was deployed in a slightly deeper role behind Olivier Giroud which could be an experiment from Wenger to show that the duo can play in the same team together.
Lacazette is exactly what Arsenal have needed for a long time. A clinical marksman who consistently gets himself into the right positions to finish chances. His arrival has prompted Giroud to hint at a potential departure from north London in the coming weeks, but the vast competition in attack from Danny Welbeck to Alex Iwobi means Arsenal are better placed than they were last campaign.
If they can keep hold of Alexis Sanchez, a player who is seeking a move away from the club, then Arsenal’s forward line next season would be absolutely devastating for opposition defences. The potential triumvirate of Alexis, Mesut Ozil and Lacazette already has supporters’ drooling over what could be – and the strong message sent by Wenger in recent interviews that his best players are not for sale provides a different outlook to what the fans have been used to.
However, supporters will be well aware of Wenger’s comments back in 2011 when Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri were pushing for moves away from the club and it’s crucial that both the manager and chief executive Ivan Gazidis hold firm this summer after an impressive transfer window thus far which has seen Kolasinac and Lacazette sign on.
Arsenal No.9s over the years have hardly set the Premier League alight. From homesick Jose Antonio Reyes to the anonymous Park Chu-Young, the £52million signing will want to be remembered for all the right reasons and scoring on his debut in front of 80,000 fans certainly goes some way to kick starting your Gunners career.