Arsenal legend Michael Thomas has spoken exclusively to CaughtOffside about the state of this Gunners side after a mix of positives and negatives to take from the 2-2 draw against Crystal Palace.
Mikel Arteta’s side will certainly have been expected to do better against this Palace side, though given that they were just moments away from losing the game, Arsenal fans will probably be reasonably happy that Alexandre Lacazette’s late goal managed to secure a draw.
Thomas certainly leaned towards the more optimistic side of things, and advised Arteta that he should be making more use of Lacazette, who hasn’t been much of a regular in the starting line up this season.
The former Arsenal midfielder, who scored that famous title-clinching goal against Liverpool in 1989, also feels it’s surely worth keeping hold of the experienced Frenchman amid doubts over his future as he nears the end of his contract.
“The game was made hard work of and Arsenal asserted no dominance in the game until the final minutes when they put Palace under some pressure,” Thomas told CaughtOffside. “Aubameyang worked really hard and was alive throughout the game. Lacazette also looked extremely hungry when he came on and made things happen by demanding the ball be played forward faster into feet.
“There were a lot of below-par performances but Lacazette should come into the team for the game against Aston Villa on Friday, which will be a very tough test, especially if they play anything like what they did. I’d possibly like to see more of Martinelli also, as he looked quite lively and brought good energy to the team.”
On Lacazette’s future, he added: “You can see the direction the club is going in in terms of recruiting new players, with younger players seeming to be the focus. I do, however, believe that keeping good experienced pros in the camp is hugely necessary – all the young players always have nothing but positive words to say about Lacazette and how he aids their progression on and off the field.”
It will be interesting to see if Lacazette’s impact against Palace can earn him more playing time in the weeks and months ahead, and if that can then perhaps also lead the club to work a bit harder to keep the former Lyon man instead of allowing his contract to run down.