Arsenal need their senior players to help them through their difficult season – and, says Mikel Arteta, Alexandre Lacazette is doing just that.
Lacazette came off the bench against Brighton and scored the winning goal just 29 seconds later, his third goal in his last three appearances.
Arteta said the forward’s instant impact was the stuff of managers’ dreams, though he would still like him to improve his goalscoring output.
“I think this is what all the managers dream of, to bring people from the bench and win you the game like he’s done tonight,” Arteta said in his post-match press conference.
“I think he’s been in really good form in the last few weeks. He’s been scoring goals. He’s full of confidence. Today he had a sore back, he could not start the game. But he came on and won the game for us which is massively important.
“We need big players and the senior players to step up in these difficult moments and he’s doing that for sure. Front players need their team-mates to support them and put them in situations like he had today as often as possible. But at the same time, they have to step up and create these opportunities themselves.
“I think Laca is working very hard. Since I’ve been here his work has never been an issue. His goalscoring record could improve and but it’s improving because he’s so willing to do it for us also.”
Lacazette’s goal came via a fine assist from Bukayo Saka. It was the youngster’s 15th assist in all competitions since the start of last season – more than any other Arsenal player has managed in that time.
“I think it was a great move from Bukayo first to create the action that he did,” Arteta said. “But then I think apart from the finish it was [Lacazette’s] movement.
“The counter-movement he made to create the space for himself, the touch and the finish. I think it was a brilliant goal.
“Today, [Saka] had a difficult game in the first half because we weren't using certain moments to generate advantages for him and other attacking players in the right way. So the game becomes really difficult, all the time back to goal against a back five in a low block.
“In the second half, the moment we started to play different balls and attack in a different way, they found more freedom, more space, and more capacity to unlock the situations and the block and we created four or five big chances and he was involved in most of them.”