Alexandre Lacazette was the main man following Arsenal’s 2-1 win in the north London derby last weekend.
His winning penalty was his tenth strike in the Premier League this season, making it four consecutive top flight campaigns in which the Frenchman has scored ten or more goals.
This is an impressive return for the forward, especially given that he’s rarely thought of as one of the league’s more ruthless and dangerous finishers.
In fact, quite often, he’s applauded more for work rate and ability to be a facilitator for the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and other teammates around him, creating good attacking partnerships and combining with clever link-up play.
This perception of being a creator rather than a scorer has at times made it easy for Arsenal bosses to leave him out of the side, with both Mikel Arteta and Unai Emery opting to play Aubameyang through the middle in the 29-year-old’s place.
Aubameyang is obviously an elite forward therefore that decision does have some merit, yet, this season the Frenchman has netted a league goal more than the former Dortmund man, despite playing fewer minutes.
As a consequence, his goals per 90 minutes average of 0.55 betters the Arsenal captain’s at 0.41. Furthermore, Lacazette has had fewer shots on average (1.89) to Aubameyang (2.21), making his goal conversion percentage of 29.41% again much better than his striking partners of 18.36%.
Strikingly, as highlighted above, Lacazette’s goal conversion rate is actually the best of all Premier League forwards who have scored six or more league goals this season.
On top of these impressive season numbers, it’s also worth pointing out that according to data platform Understat, Lacazette has performed in line with, and in fact marginally exceeded, his Expected Goals (xG) since he arrived in the Premier League – total goals 47, xG 44.76.
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Therefore from a goalscoring point of view, the above paints a different picture of Lacazette and he’s clearly more reliable in front of goal than many have previously given him credit for.
This point could prove crucial in the summer when the club look to decide on his future.
Arsenal will need to decide whether to cash in for a fee, offer him a new deal, or allow him to potentially run down his current contract which enters its final year next season.