Mikel Arteta was full of praise for Alexandre Lacazette in the post-match press conference – from both a playing and professional perspective – after he spurred Arsenal to a win against Brighton.
Arteta was questioned about the 29-year-old’s ‘character’ by Goal’s Charles Watts after the win, with Lacazette now scoring in each of his last three games and providing some much-needed firepower.
The former Arsenal captain turned boss admitted that the side need ‘big players’ and ‘senior players’ to ‘step up’ during a ‘difficult’ time for the side, with Arteta stating that Lacazette is doing exactly that.
Arteta went a step further and reiterated that the centre-forward has always worked ‘hard’ since he became boss, adding that his ‘work has never been an issue’.
Lacazette is certainly being rewarded for his work in training, the Gunners have struggled largely due to their lack of creativity and clinical touch, some things the ex-Lyon man certainly showed with his goal.
Arteta added that it was difficult to leave the striker out of the starting lineup after his solid display in the shock win against rivals Chelsea, but stated he had to do so due to a ‘back’ issue for Lacazette.
Explained: Halftime message from Mikel Arteta that spurred Arsenal to win vs Brighton after much improved second-half
Mikel Arteta on Alexandre Lacazette’s ‘character’ and ‘attitude’, with the striker’s recent form helping Arsenal seal a win against Brighton… pic.twitter.com/rUZqjF6lML
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The Spaniard had this to say when questioned on the striker’s ‘character’ and attitude:
“We need the big players and the senior players to step up in this difficult moment, and he’s doing that for sure.”
“Front players need their teammates to support them and put them in situations like he had today as often as possible, at the same time they have to step up and create these opportunity for themselves.”
“I think Laca has been working really hard since I’ve been here, his work has never been an issue, his goalscoring record could improve, but it’s improving because he’s so willing to do it for us.”
Here’s what Arteta had to say on the back issue that meant Lacazette couldn’t start the tie:
“Yes it was (referencing difficult decision to not start Lacazette), he finished the game against Chelsea with some pain and we had the opportunity to refresh that and use him as well in other moments.”
“We didn’t know if Auba (Aubameyang) could last for 90 minutes, we know that Gabi (Martinelli) wasn’t going to last for 90 minutes for sure, so we had a substitution there and someone with a goal threat that we believed we were going to be needing.”
Arteta also broke down Lacazette’s crucial strike in his post-match press conference, with the Spaniard even more impressed with the star’s ‘movement’ than solely the brilliant finish.
With strike partner Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang looking much less effective this season and attacking recruit Willian looking unconvincing, Lacazette’s rejuvenation couldn’t have come at a better time.
The Gunners have now strung together back-to-back wins to help come away from the serious pressure they were under following a disastrous run, with a heavily favourable tie against West Brom next up, the north London outfit can really propel themselves up the table by the end of the hectic festive period.