Mikel Arteta has provided an update regarding the fitness of club captain Alexandre Lacazette ahead of their crucial derby fixture against Chelsea…
THE LOWDOWN: FOCUS ON GUNNERS
The Arsenal boss has urged Lacazette to focus on the Gunners after the player revealed he had opened talks with “a lot of clubs”.
The France forward is out of contract in the summer and free to speak to other teams.
Speaking to Canal Plus earlier this week, the 30-year-old said he was “missing” playing in the Champions League and that he had “never cut contact” with his former club Lyon, whom he left to join the Emirates five years ago.
The club’s hopes of finishing in the top four have been dented by three straight defeats before Wednesday’s derby at fierce rivals Chelsea.
The Gunners, who have one game in hand, are three points behind fourth-placed Tottenham with seven matches left.
And Arteta will be hoping to have his captain back for the crucial fixture at Stamford Bridge, after he missed their 1-0 loss at Southampton due to illness.
THE LATEST: CAN CONTRIBUTE
Speaking at his press conference ahead of the London derby, the Spanish coach revealed the club will be assessing the French star to see if he “can contribute” in West London.
“With Laca we are assessing him today to see if he is available with the team.
“Obviously as you all know he had Covid so he’s been away for a few days. So we’re trying to get [how] he’s feeling and where he’s at if he can contribute somehow with the team.”
THE VERDICT: EXPERIENCE NEEDED
It is no secret of Lacazette’s poor form in recent weeks for the north London outfit, registering only four goals from 25 Premier League games so far this season.
After the Gunners sold Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to Barcelona in January on a free transfer, the club have been crying out for a reliable goalscorer to deliver the goods as the club chase a coveted Champions League place at the end of the season.
The £18m-rated forward has so far failed to deliver on those expectations, whilst the Gabon-international has so far flourished in Spain scoring eight goals from ten league games, which doesn’t make for good reading for the Arsenal faithful.
However, in such a high stakes game against their fierce rivals Chelsea, the Lyon-born striker’s experience and leadership will be desperately needed to lead from the front against Thomas Tuchel’s men.
Recently heralded for the guidance of his more younger teammates and his unselfish character by his manager, the 16-time French international could still prove a pivotal figure in the Arsenal side despite his struggles in front of goal.