Alexandre Lacazette didn't make the instant impact expected of him at Arsenal, but he's quickly reminding all why the club spent a club-record fee to sign him from Lyon with his recent play.

By 90Min
October 08, 2018

Ask any Premier League fan who the competition's best striker is and names like Sergio Agüero, Harry Kane or Romelu Lukaku will be given. Some may even throw in wingers who have made a name for themselves under this title in Eden Hazard or last season's Golden Boot winner Mohamed Salah.

Few, however, will mention Alexandre Lacazette. The forward joined Arsenal from French club Lyon last year and although his first season in England may not have been ideal for a player worth up to £52.6m, current form suggests he is using his second to become recognized as one of the best strikers the Premier League has to offer.

Strength, speed, dribbles and deadly finishing ability. These are just the core attributes Arsenal paid a club-record fee to purchase. With them, Lacazette was meant to transform a Gunners team that was firing blanks for too long under Arsène Wenger.

In his last three seasons at Lyon, Lacazette's goal tally didn't finish below 20 per campaign once. Arsenal had just bought themselves an elite center forward, the first to take the league by storm since the days of Robin van Persie–or so it thought.

Fast-forward a year later and the Frenchman has somewhat lost that respect in the whirlwind of the club's disastrous 2017/18 campaign and the eventual departure of his fellow countryman, Wenger. 

The striker's first season at the Emirates saw him record low figures by his own standards: 26 league starts, the fewest he has made in five seasons; and 14 goals, the fewest he has scored in four.

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Lacazette was also disrupted by injury, eventually missing out on a place in France's World Cup squad to round off a year that displayed his talent but ultimately fell short of initial expectation.

This season, however, has begun with promise for the 27-year-old, who has scored four goals and supplied two assists in five league appearances for Arsenal.

It's quite telling that his first three appearances came from the bench and every one thereafter saw him feature from the start. He has taken the opportunity to prove himself under new boss Unai Emery, who is beginning to see the product of his faith in the striker.

Lacazette has been involved in his side's goals in six of their last seven matches in all competitions, and his two goals against Fulham on Saturday meant that no other Gunners player has had a hand in more goals than him and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in 2018. The pair has recorded 14 goals and four assists.

They are forming a formidable strike partnership on the pitch that Lacazette revealed, as quoted by the Mirror, is based on their friendship off it, saying: "It is good, he is like my brother.

"Every day we talk, we love to work together and on Sunday in front of the goal and we scored two goals, which is good."

Lacazette and Aubameyang were both big-money signings, and with the latter having already hit the ground running, the former joining him in similar form represents very good prospects for Arsenal in this campaign.

Emery has alternated formations so far and will hope to settle on one that provides both players a place in his lineup, allowing them to combine to devastating effect.

For Lacazette, staying fit and consistent are the two most important targets of his second season in north London, as doing so could not only help his side reach their target of silverware and a return to the Champions League but finally put him among the Premier League's best strikers.