Alexandre Lacazette makes Arsenal viable title contenders

Arsenal are coming off the back of their worst domestic campaign under Arsene Wenger, but the Gunners shouldn’t be taken lightly in this season’s Premier League title race. Earlier this summer, the Frenchman moved swiftly and decisively to sign his compatriot Alexandre Lacazette for a club-record £52 million from Lyon – and the France striker could give Arsenal the edge in the battle for supremacy in England’s top flight.

Last season, Lacazette was supreme for Lyon; notching 36 goals in 44 appearances. In terms of world football, only a handful of elite forwards were able to match his goal scoring record and Arsenal have a real diamond on their hands. Used correctly, Lacazette can be Arsenal’s elite frontman for the next decade or so and £52 million will look like an absolute steal if he leads the Gunners to the title.

Arsenal fans will be excited at what the future holds after seeing Lacazette bag on his debut in the pre-season victory over Sydney FC earlier this month. The Frenchman is a real danger in the penalty area and he will certainly give the Gunners a boost in the final third. Although Olivier Giroud continues to get into the French side at Lacazette’s expense, the former Lyon star is a class above his fellow countryman.

It would be foolish to make too many direct comparisons between Lacazette and previous Arsenal forwards but there is at least an aura of Thierry Henry about the 26-year-old. Gunners fans will be hoping that Lacazette fulfils his potential at the Emirates Stadium and a first Premier League title since 2004 could be on the cards. As of July 15th, Wenger’s men are 12/1 in the football betting markets to win the crown this season.

Realistically, the Gunners are probably one or two players short of topping the table but Lacazette has the talent to reduce that gap. Arsenal have struggled to inspire confidence in attack since Henry left the club but the French connection could strike again with Lacazette leading the line. Giroud still has a role to play off the substitutes bench but Arsenal are entering a new era – this is Lacazette’s time to shine.

Wenger’s men scored 77 goals last season; three fewer than Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City and eight less than eventual champions Chelsea. Giroud finished the season with 12 league goals and you’d fancy Lacazette to eclipse that tally by some distance. It would be unfair to expect the Frenchman to win the Golden Boot in his first season in England’s top flight but 20 goals is surely a realistic target.

If Lacazette and Arsenal get off to a good start, anything is possible. In the Premier League, momentum and confidence are crucial and Wenger will be urging his men to push early on. Another defensive acquisition to help keep things tight at the back and the Gunners will be well placed to compete for the title. Lacazette ticks all the boxes to succeed at the club and Arsenal fans are rightly excited ahead of the new campaign.

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