Much has been made about the form of Alexandre Lacazette over the last couple of months, but the talk has now shifted to his injury. The Frenchman has confirmed the surgery on his Instagram, and said he will not be on the pitch for a ‘few weeks.’
Arsenal’s Europa League schedule will be tough, and the early stages are a great opportunity for striker to build confidence, but by the time Lacazette returns, it’s likely there will be no easy games remaining. With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang cup tied due to the most farcical rule in football, Arsenal are short of strikers, with Eddie Nketiah the only proper striker registered in the squad.
Despite Nketiah destroying the Under 23s, he was over looked for Danny Welbeck last night, a man who cannot be described as a footballer, let alone a striker. Last night’s performance showed the enormous golf in class between him and Arsenal’s first choice strikers, as he did his best to convince Wenger never to play him through the middle again.
But, Wenger’s recent update is perhaps more concerning. Before the game, he said that Ramsey isn’t moving as freely as he would like and could possibly miss the league cup final. If this turns out to be the case, it will be a massive loss for Arsenal, who rely heavily on his bursts from midfield to put the opposition under pressure.
Without him, Arsenal will be relying on Wilshere, who despite all his talents doesn’t always have the best end product. Unlike Ramsey, Wilshere focuses more on influencing the game by staying in the middle, rarely making runs beyond the striker. While this may see Arsenal deliver a more disciplined performance, it could also lead to them delivering a shambolic showing like they did in their last trip to Wembley.
At Tottenham, Wilshere ran into trouble too many times, often trying to dribble his way out of situations, often playing a pass too late and giving away possession. While this is part of Wilshere’s game, and is one of the reasons he is so good, it can also work against Arsenal in the same way as Ramsey’s forward runs can. But, with Ramsey, his runs make defenders worry. They put them under pressure and they stop midfielders from pushing too far forward, as they know he’s capable of getting in behind and scoring goals.
Aside from Ramsey, Lacazette and Santi, Arsenal are pretty much injury free. Wilshere and Koscielny did not travel to Sweden due to their history of joint / Achilles problems, while Cech was never going to feature. Unless something miraculous happens between now and next Thursday, it’s unlikely Arsenal will see any changes on their casualty list.