The Gunners striker has come in for some criticism this season having scored just nine times in all competitions
Bacary Sagna has given his backing to Alexandre Lacazette, describing the Arsenal frontman as ‘amazing’.
Lacazette – who was named Arsenal’s player of the year for the 2018/19 season – has come in for lots of criticism during the current campaign having found the net just nine times.
A run of nine games without a goal between December and February saw his place in the starting XI come under the spotlight and despite scoring three times in four matches in the build-up to the coronavirus enforced suspension, he found himself on the bench for Arsenal’s last three league games.
Yet despite seeing Eddie Nketiah preferred to him, Lacazette was still given plenty of praise by head coach Mikel Arteta, particularly after he came off the bench to score the late winner against West Ham.
Arteta said: “I saw it straight away the moment I was talking with him, giving him instructions on the touchline, he was alert, focused and I could see in his face he was really determined to come out there and score the goal like he did.”
Now Sagna, who spent seven years with the Gunners between 2007 and 2014, has also spoken out in support of his fellow countryman.
“Laca is vital,” said Sagna. “He is the type of player who gives everything for the team. Of course you always see the one scoring the goals, like Aubameyang – who is a goalscoring machine – but the amount of work Laca puts in is amazing.
“The way he holds the ball, the way he fights for the ball, the way he presses the defence. This is invisible work that not everyone will see. But for Arsenal’s system and the way they want to play, he is amazing.”
The criticism that has come Lacazette’s way in recent months has been centred around his lack of goals, especially as top scorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been playing on the left wing to accommodate the Frenchman operating as the central striker.
Away from home, Lacazette has now gone a full calendar year without finding the target in the Premier League, with his last league goal way from the Emirates coming during the 2-1 win at Huddersfield in February 2019.
However Sagna is adamant that the former Lyon man should not be judged purely on how many times he finds the net.
“He can score many goals, in front of the goal he is clinical,” said the former Gunners defender. “But most of the time he has his back to the goal. When he receives the ball, he is trying to protect and defend the ball for other players.
“He is getting kicked for his team-mates and this is why, for me, he is vital to the Arsenal system.
“He is running a lot. You know how tiring it is to run all the time and press from the front? It’s very tiring, people don’t realise how difficult it is. On top of this, yes you have to score goals. People will ask to score goals because we only remember goalscorers, but he is doing a lot.”