Arteta hopes Lacazette gains confidence after ending goal drought

Alexandre Lacazette Arsenal Newcastle 16022020
The France international ended his nine-game dry spell when he rounded off the Gunners' 4-0 win over Newcastle on Sunday

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta believes Alexandre Lacazette's goal against Newcastle on Sunday will boost the striker's confidence.

The 28-year-old was on a run of nine games without a goal when he came off the bench to replace Eddie Nketiah with just five minutes left.

But the France international made his brief appearance count as he set up Mesut Ozil's goal and then netted one of his own late into stoppage time to round off a 4-0 victory.

And Arteta was delighted with the striker's impact, which saw him take his Premier League tally to six goals for the season, and hopes it leads to more.

"I'm so pleased for Laca – the reaction of the players and staff towards him," Arteta said to BBC Sport.

"He fights hard for everyone. He’s been unlucky. He will gain confidence from this and knows how everyone appreciates him."

Asked why he played Nketiah ahead of Lacazette, Arteta said at his post-match press conference:  "The message is clear. Whoever trains like they do and has the abilities to play like he did has a chance to play.

"Laca has been playing all the games and hasn’t scored. I told him the decision and he accepted it. I told him he would come on and score, he did and I’m so pleased."

But the ex-Lyon star is not the only one who earned the coach's praise, as he highlighted Bukayo Saka and Dani Ceballos as well. 

"Bukayo Saka is doing really well," he added. "He keeps his head down and wants to learn. He's peforming like a senior player.

"Dani Ceballos is a good example. He was injured and when he started to train I didn’t think he was fit enough. He completely changed his behaviour and trained like an animal. I thought he was the best player on the pitch."

All of Arsenal's goals came in the second half of the clash with Steve Bruce's team, whereas they managed just three shots on target in the opening 45 minutes.

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Arteta was pleased to see his side's response after half-time and end their run of four straight draws in the English top-flight.

"After the break we started saying we had to start closing the gap on the top teams and turn draws into wins. Today was the first opportunity and we’ve done it. All good."

Arsenal are now 10th in the league and are in action again on Thursday when they meet Olympiacos in the Europa League.