When Alexandre Lacazette walked through the door at the Emirates this summer, the vast majority of Arsenal fans drooled at the thought of a dream front three starring the Frenchman, Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez.
Though, following quite a messy end to the summer which saw Sanchez’s potential and more so imminent move to Manchester City collapse, and the contract situation of Ozil still nowhere near being resolved – it seemed as if that front three would not feature together.
But Sanchez and Ozil are still at the club as it stands, and though their mentality may be questionable, their class and quality is still there for all to see, as Arsenal fans finally got their wish last weekend in that 5-2 away dismantling of Everton.
Arsenal fans finally got their wishes granted last Sunday, as the Gunners headed to Everton in desperate need of firstly, three points and secondly, a big performance. Arsene Wenger started Lacazette, Ozil and Sanchez in a front three for the first time this season, and it was to some effect.
The Gunners were a different team last weekend – pace, flair and hunger was all back in abundance as Arsenal really could have had around six or seven in the end at a shell-shocked Goodison Park.
The fact of the matter for Wenger is that whilst the likes of Sanchez and Ozil are still at the club, he may as well get the best out of them. Sanchez will always want to play, no matter what the situation and now that he has both Lacazette and Ozil alongside him surely gives him no excuses just to keep his head down for the coming months, before he eventually gets his move away.
Many questions had been asked of Ozil up until last weekend, with his desire and mentality very much the talking points. Though, the German has only started four league games this season, making two appearances off the bench. Throw in to the mix that he has only started one game alongside fellow star Sanchez.
Yes, his overall body language and play comes across as lazy, but Ozil needs runners and players who are willing to make that run in behind defenders. Last Sunday we saw the Ozil of old, with a terrific assist and a beautifully taken header for Arsenal’s second – he now needs to silence those critics and continue that level of performance for the rest of the season.
For Ozil also, he now has a striker in Lacazette, for whom he has been craving for someone of that calibre since his arrival back in 2013. When you watch Lacazette closely off the ball, his movement is quite brilliant. He is never standing still, forever on the shoulder of a defender and that plays quite brilliantly in to the hands of Ozil’s game.
Lacazette came to Arsenal with quite a hefty price-tag, but in all honesty his last season at Lyon really warranted that. The Frenchman has one of the best goals to games ratios in Europe, and Arsenal were buying a striker who would give them nothing but goals.
I wouldn’t say it was a tough opening few months for Lacazette, because that really applied for everyone involved at the Emirates. Though a goal in the opening couple minutes of his league debut gave everyone faith that goals would not be a problem.
For the large part of September and early October, Arsenal were missing the likes of Sanchez and Ozil, with their build-up play being fairly slow – which didn’t play in to the hands of Lacazette. Games against Brighton and Watford recently being prime examples of that.
Though, I couldn’t help but feel that last Sunday was a real pivotal moment in Lacazette’s Arsenal career. It was as if the shackles were off for the Frenchman, as his link-up play with both Sanchez and Ozil was top class. Heavily involved in the brilliant build-up to Ozil’s goal, before taking his goal in typical Lacazette style.
Arsenal’s dynamic trio need to continue in this manner in the coming weeks, as it seems that all three have gelled in perfect time, with daunting back-to-back showdowns away to Manchester City and a North London Derby at the Emirates just round the corner.