Down the years, it has become rather evident that in the big games for Arsenal you can predict who will be in the starting eleven, and that there is always a player who gets dropped which causes a controversial reaction.
That player was Alexandre Lacazette on Sunday when Arsene Wenger's side travelled to the Etihad Stadium on Sunday to take on Manchester City, in what was a disastrous afternoon for the Gunners, resulting in a 3-1 defeat. And the decision was made to look even more bizarre, when Lacazette came on to score Arsenal's only goal of the day, with one of his first touches.
Lacazette found himself on the bench, as Wenger opted surprisingly for Alex Iwobi, who has only started three games in the league so far this campaign. This was the second time that Wenger had dropped Lacazette, currently Arsenal's top goalscorer, as the same occurred in the 4-0 thumping at Anfield against Liverpool, at the back-end of August.
Lack of trust?
It's hard not to read too much in to Lacazette's surprise exit from the starting eleven on Sunday. Wenger was quoted pre-match stating that his Arsenal side would 'attack' City, so surely having a prolific and deadly Lacazette on the pitch from the start would make sense?
Wenger's decision to not start the Frenchman at Anfield was not the strangest as you could maybe say that it was the third game of the season, and he was still adapting to the pace and intensity of the Premier League. But Sunday was just too odd to be true.
Early November, eleven games in to the league campaign now, what's the issue? Arsenal needed to get a result on Sunday to stand any chance of catching City this season, and by Wenger not selecting his first-choice striker is slightly alarming.
Leads to the question, does Wenger trust him in big games away from home? As mentioned earlier, it is evident that the Arsenal boss has his stereotypical side for big games away from home, with wantaway Chilean, Alexis Sanchez being the preferred central striker when it comes to the 'big games'.
Too faithful to players who don't want to be at the club?
Lacazette must have been watching on during Sunday's game, wondering 'what have I got to do to get in to this team?'. The futures of both Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil are still nowhere to being cleared up, with both showing a lack of interest and desire currently when wearing an Arsenal shirt so far this season. Yet, both started at the Etihad, and both put in rather shameful performances.
For Lacazette, what does that say? Wenger has chosen two players ahead of him, who are yet to commit their long-term futures to the club, and obviously would like to be elsewhere at this current moment in time. There's no doubting both Sanchez and Ozil's talent, but as the club's record signing, Lacazette has every right to be asking questions of Wenger's recent decisions.
And right on cue, when Lacazette arrived off the bench on Sunday afternoon, of course he made an instant impact, pulling the Gunners back in to the game. Come the end of the game, it did lead to many wondering if the French striker did start from the off, then would it have been a different game?
North London Derby statement?
Arsenal return to action after the forthcoming International break, in just under two weeks time, when they have the small matter of welcoming arch-rivals, Tottenham Hotspur to the Emirates Stadium.
It promises to be one of the most significant North London Derby's in recent years, as defeat for the Gunners could send their season spiralling out of control. But, you would surely like to think that Lacazette's name will be on that teamsheet that Saturday, in what is Arsenal's biggest game of the season so far.
Sunday's cameo from the Frenchman has surely indicated where the goals will be coming from this campaign, with Sanchez and Ozil only contributing three goals in all competitions between them. It promises to be a defining day in Arsenal's season, and maybe in Lacazette's Arsenal career?