La­cazette’s lack of scor­ing not a con­cern

Bournemouth v Arse­nal

Sport360 - - Premier League - By Philip Dun­can @PhilipDun­can ed­i­to­

Arsene Wenger has con­ceded that Alexan­dre La­cazette’s con­fi­dence has taken a knock, but in­sists he is not con­cerned by his record sign­ing’s goal drought.

La­cazette hit the ground run­ning fol­low­ing his £50 mil­lion (Dh252.2m) move from Lyon last sum­mer, net­ting four times in his open­ing six league fix­tures for Arse­nal. But the France striker, 26, has now gone nearly 10 hours without find­ing the back of the net – he last scored in the 3-1 de­feat against Manch­ester United at the be­gin­ning of De­cem­ber – and he was largely in­ef­fec­tual in the League Cup semi-fi­nal at Chelsea be­fore he was sub­sti­tuted in the sec­ond half.

La­cazette, how­ever, is likely to be given another chance to re­cap­ture his early-sea­son form when Arse­nal travel to Bournemouth in the Premier League to­day.

Wenger could be without Me­sut Ozil as he bat­tles a knee is­sue, while the on­go­ing un­cer­tainty over Alexis Sanchez’s fu­ture may re­sult in him be­ing un­avail­able. Olivier Giroud, who has been side­lined since Arse­nal’s League Cup win over West Ham last month with a ham­string in­jury, will also be ab­sent for a fur­ther fort­night.

“(The lack of goals) cer­tainly af­fects him (La­cazette) a lit­tle bit, but I am not wor­ried,” Wenger said. “He was di­min­ished a bit phys­i­cally on Wed­nes­day night against Chelsea be­cause he was not at his best be­fore the game, but he was as well very iso­lated.

“It was a dif­fi­cult game for a striker be­cause he did de­fend a lot, but over­all I don’t worry that he will come back and it’s in cy­cles. At the mo­ment he’s go­ing through a cy­cle that

is a bit more frus­trat­ing for him.”

Arse­nal re­turn to Bournemouth for the first time since their thrilling 3-3 draw on the south coast last sea­son.

Wenger’s side were left stunned as the hosts raced into a three-goal lead, but the Gun­ners com­pleted a dra­matic come­back when Giroud net­ted a stop­page-time equaliser.

Bournemouth have won only one of their last 10 matches in the top flight and have slipped to 16th.

But Wenger is an­tic­i­pat­ing a tough time of it from Ed­die Howe’s team as Arse­nal bid to get their top­four am­bi­tions back on track.

“Last year was a spec­tac­u­lar game, where it fin­ished 3-3,” Wenger added.

“Ba­si­cally what can hap­pen in the story of a game is that you can go through all kind of states of mind – the night­mare, the re­lief and then the frus­tra­tion – be­cause we could have won the game in the end.

“They are a team who have a bit more dif­fi­culty this sea­son but down there they can make it dif­fi­cult for any­body.

“The league is di­vided into two now. As long as we have a group of seven or eight teams fight­ing for the top four, the rest are ba­si­cally fight­ing to stay in the league.”

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