Alexandre Lacazette needs to rediscover his confidence if he wants to foce his way back into Mikel Arteta’s starting XI at Arsenal.
Lacazette has scored two goals in his last three appearances off the substitutes bench but has failed to start any of the Gunners’ last four Premier League matches.
Arsenal play Brighton on Saturday with Arteta admitting that Lacazette is looking “much better” in the last few weeks.
“Alex is a player that I always liked because he’s the type of striker that can do a bit of everything,” Arteta said.
“He’s very talented in combining and linking with other [players], his work rate and the way he competes for every ball is rare to find in a striker – and then he has the ability to put the ball in the net every time he’s in front of goal.
“It has been a difficult season for him – for other players too – but we’ve been trying to manage that.
“He has a lot of continuity with me but he had that stroke where he was finding it difficult to score goals.
“I think in the last few weeks he looked much better, was a threat and scored some important goals for us as well.”
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Arteta added: “I just want to give him confidence, game time and the way he came on yesterday [in the 3-0 defeat to Manchester City]showed a lot of willingness to help the team and I am happy with him,” he said.
“We have two strikers that have to fight for their places and I want that type of competition in the squad.
“Everybody needs [confidence]and a striker probably more than any other player on the pitch because in the end, confidence is related to the amount of goals per minute they score.
“They can do everything well but at the end they’re getting judged for the amount of goals they are scoring.
“It’s the same for everybody but how do you gain confidence from the manager? The way you train, translate it into the way you play, or if you don’t play then you have the excuse that you don’t have the confidence, it’s always like this.”