Some Arsenal supporters have taken to Twitter to urge manager Mikel Arteta to start Alexandre Lacazette in tonight’s massive Europa League tie against Benfica.
The sides meet for Arsenal’s (home) leg of the round of 32 clash. Because of covid-affected travel restrictions, the tie is taking place at the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium in Piraeus, Greece, at 5.55pm.
Following the 1-1 draw in the first leg last week, the Gunners have everything to play for.
And some Arsenal fans took to Twitter to call for Lacazette to lead the front line from kick-off:
Lacazette lacking minutes
Lacazette has only played once in Arsenal’s past three fixtures. And that was a cameo appearance in the Gunners’ defeat to Manchester City.
Apart from in January, when the Frenchman started every Premier League game, Lacazette hasn’t enjoyed a solid run of games all season.
Arteta could certainly do with getting a strong performance out of the striker today if Lacazette does feature.
Despite the scores being level between the sides, Arsenal have a valuable away goal.
And that goal appears even more important when you realise the Gunners have only kept one clean sheet in eight matches.
That’s why Lacazette’s attacking contribution could be crucial.
Arsenal on the attack
On current form, it may be a risky tactic to put too much faith in Lacazette. The £182,063-a-week (Spotrac) striker hasn’t scored for almost a month.
He did hit a purple patch shortly after Christmas and into 2021, netting four goals in three league outings.
Since then, the 29-year-old hasn’t been able to rediscover his form and lost his position in Arteta’s starting XI.
His attacking threat has been replaced by the likes of Nicolas Pepe and Martin Odegaard in recent weeks, with skipper Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang also returning to the side.
Who could Lacazette replace?
If Lacazette is brought back, however, who should Arteta drop?
Odegaard is just beginning to establish himself after arriving on loan from Real Madrid.
Pepe had been playing well, although he was dropped for the first leg against Benfica.
Then there’s Gabriel Martinelli to throw into the mix.
It’s certainly a healthy problem to have, but it’s one Arteta needs to get right.
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