Alexandre Lacazette pleads with Arsenal for an extended stay beyond the existing agreement

The future of Alexandre Lacazette remains very uncertain, but it could be one of those rare contractual dead ends which in fact plays in favor of all.

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta waved an unexpected carrot on the eve of Friday’s game, hinting that the 30-year-old could still be offered an extension of his existing deal which expires at the end of the season.

ESPN reported on September 17 that there was no offer on the table from the club and still is today but based on this evidence, Lacazette is nowhere near joining the long run. list of players to pass the deadlock sitting on his hands.

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He set the tone for Friday’s 3-1 win over Aston Villa four days earlier. The Frenchman reinvigorated a struggling team performance against Palace on Monday with a vibrant 23-minute cameo that culminated with an equalizer in stoppage time to save a draw.

Lacazette was rewarded with a place in the starting XI here – his first Premier League start to the season having only played 72 minutes before tonight – with the words of Arteta’s pre-match press conference which echoed in his ears, mainly that « anything is possible » regarding the prospect of a new contract.

It is unclear whether Lacazette is motivated by showing himself worthy of extending his stay in north London or showing his talents to potential suitors in the January transfer window. But if Arteta can harness the determination he’s shown here, Lacazette can prove to be a real asset in the weeks and months to come, whatever the future.

“He was great,” said Arteta de Lacazette. « The way he finished the last game, I already made the decision [to start him]. He worked really hard, he didn’t play a lot of minutes. « 

Arteta changed his system to accommodate Lacazette, moving away from the 4-3-3 form which left Arsenal regularly exposed against Palace to something akin to 4-4-2 in possession but more clearly 4-2 -3-1 without.

Lacazette stepped in to help quell Villa’s transition, a counterattack that can be lethal as shown in this game’s 3-0 win last season with fans absent due to COVID-19.

Arsenal enjoyed a packed house in the Emirates, responding to a dynamic 45-minute opener in which Villa was overwhelmed and lucky to finish the half just 2-0 behind.

But for VAR, the lead would have been even smaller. Thomas Partey opened the scoring with a header in the 23rd minute – his first goal for the club since his 49th attempt – before Lacazette fell into the box under a challenge from Matt Targett.

Referee Craig Pawson was encouraged to reconsider his original decision and chose to give Arsenal a tangible reward for yet another example of Lacazette’s finesse of thought in reacting the fastest to a loose ball.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang missed the penalty, but converted the rebound much to the chagrin of former Arsenal goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez, whose limitless willingness to speak at length about the Gunners since joining Villa has apparently led to a small return on investment from local supporters. Emirates supporters happily chanted ‘you’re just an s – Aaron Ramsdale’ to someone they were largely disappointed to lose when they left in the summer of 2020 for £ 20million.

It was actually a miserable night for Martinez, who could have done better for Partey’s goal, was unhappy with Aubameyang’s penalty and left with no luck as Emile Smith Rowe’s 56th-minute shot deflected Tyrone Mings to sneak inside his nearby post.

Substitute Jacob Ramsey scored a brilliant consolation in the 82nd minute, recovering a right-footed shot from the edge of the box, but it just brought a minimum of respectability to the score that Villa’s performance didn’t deserve.

Arsenal started with a similar goal against Palace but couldn’t keep it up. Here they did just that in what constitutes their best performance of the season to date – Nuno Tavares in particular profited from his first Premier League start – and perhaps the most vivid example of attacking football that Arteta ideally wishes to implement. .

“We attacked them very aggressively, we won all the duels,” said the Spaniard. “We were creative, a threat. I’m proud of the team, they played really well.

“This is how we have to play. It’s when we’re good, when we play with real desire, real commitment and can have clear ideas of how to attack them.

England manager Gareth Southgate and his assistant Steve Holland were in the stands to watch Smith Rowe plead for his inclusion in next month’s squad for the World Cup qualifiers against Albania and San Marino.

Southgate has claimed that Smith Rowe, who has been the subject of two offers from Villa this summer, is close to qualifying for the October internationals and that only the fierceness of competition in his area of ​​the pitch for the England can prevent him from winning a summons if he continues like this.

 » The other night [against Palace] he wasn’t 100% fit, but he stepped forward and wanted to play with a tough injury he had, ”said Arteta. There is nothing to complain about, he is just looking forward, he is really determined he has changed the way he lives too a bit and some of the habits he used to have and he has been superb.

“When you want to take the game to the next level, when you become a really important player at such a big club, that should be the only priority and every detail is important and relevant. You have to make him realize that, you can’t give percentages that can make a big difference and he changed that. Thanks to him and obviously to the staff here who are monitoring all the time and building this education with him and he will only get better.  »

It’s another off-pitch situation that could be beneficial for Arteta, as did Lacazette, who received a standing ovation when he was pulled out for the final 22 minutes due to fatigue here. Going from substitute to substitute in such circumstances in the same midweek is an important step forward for him.

Keep it up and it will give Arsenal an even bigger decision to make.

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