Premier League 2018/19 Player Analysis: Alexandre Lacazette

The French forward has scored in successive games after a nine-game goal drought as he bagged the winner in Athens.

Cometh the hour, cometh the man.

It was going so wrong for Alexandre Lacazette until Bukayo Saka picked him out with a perfect cross in from the left with only eight minutes remaining of Arsenal’s Europa League last-32 first leg against Olympiacos.

However, as he prodded the ball home from close range to deserve the Gunners a vital 1-0 win in Athens, the striker revealed why you can’t write him off.

After missing a golden opportunity in the first half and fighting all day with his hold up play, Lacazette could easily have gone into his shell. But he kept working, kept showing for the ball and he got his reward.

It’s two goals in two matches for the 28-year-old now after going nine games without finding the internet, and his match-winning attack was just rewarded for Mikel Arteta, who kept faith in his forward when he could easily have hauled off him during the second half.

This was a huge win for Arsenal in a ground that has been nearly impenetrable this year.

Arteta had called on his players to stand up and be counted before the game, demanding that they didn’t hide within the intimidating atmosphere of the Karaiskakis Stadium.

And they did just that, becoming just the second side after Bayern Munich to beat Olympiacos in their own turf this year.

It was another impressive step forward for the Gunners under Arteta, who remain the only unbeaten Premier League side in 2020.

They have now gone nine games without defeat in all competitions and have kept five clean sheets in the process, including three on the bounce.

Arteta’s priority when he came was to make the team much more difficult to beat and he’s certainly done that. The visitors restricted Olympiacos to just two shots on goal all night, with Shkodran Mustafi and David Luiz excellent facing Bernd Leno.

The German keeper made one smart stop early on to push a Mathieu Valbuena volley wide, but besides that he was comparatively untroubled as Gunners took a significant step towards the final 16 for a third successive season.

Moving forward, Arsenal remain a work in process, but there’s still sufficient quality in the side to make something from nothing, and that’s what proved decisive in the Greek capital.

It might have been Lacazette who got the goal, but once again it was the prodigiously gifted Saka who made it.

The makeshift left-back bombed down the flank to get at the end of a pass from Aubameyang and made the ideal center for Lacazette to finish off.

It was a rare moment of attacking quality, but one which have awarded Arsenal a valuable lead to shield if Olympiacos visit north London next week.