Arsenal may have racked up goals in cup competitions in his absence, but the Gunners have being missing Alexandre Lacazette’s lethal touch in front of goal for league games over the past couple of months.
While Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has certainly done all he can, the 1-0 win against Bournemouth last time out does show that the Gunners have been missing his partner in crime.
Lacazette certainly offers something slightly different to his teammate. For one thing, he averages 5.33 touches in the box per 90 minutes since the beginning of last season. That’s higher than Aubameyang (4.35) and anyone else in the first-team squad.
The 28-year-old is usually the man on the end of a flowing move, with his instincts in the box making sure he is always in the right place at the right time.
On top of that, Lacazette is an excellent finisher. Although his shot to goals conversion rate is slightly lower than Aubameyang, 19.3% is certainly very impressive, and the French ace is actually more accurate with his shooting than his teammate with 44% of his shots on target since the beginning of last campaign.
The forward is not just good at putting away chances, though. He is always on the move, and his quick feet means he is able to carve out chances for others, as well as himself. Since the start of the 2018/19 season, he actually has more assists (14) than Nicolas Pepe (10) who was playing in Ligue One last year.
Lacazette’s all round play can be under-appreciated by some and his comeback will certainly be a big boost to manager Unai Emery and the team in general. Having had the international break to recover from a troublesome ankle injury, fans will be hoping he plays some part against Sheffield United this evening.
Bramall Lane is a tricky place to go, with Liverpool scraping a lucky 1-0 win there last month. A key strength is their defensive solidity with Chris Wilder’s side currently having the joint best defence in the whole league.
With the Gunners having scored just five in four games on the road so far, Lacazette’s return would certainly help improve that statistic. Even if it is just a cameo off the bench, he does have it in him to score crucial goals in tight games. Let’s hope he plays some part in what could be a difficult game tonight.