Alex LacazetteGETTY

Alexandre Lacazette is going through a rough patch of form

The 26-year-old Frenchman has suddenly found a black hole after starting so brightly and has just eight goals this season.

Wenger admits seeing Lacazette being frustrated by his lack of goals – even though the player won’t come out and say it.

He’s witnessed him giving all through the Christmas and New Year period but weighed down the heavy programme that has effected many before him who have arrived from abroad.

Wenger has seen Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata and Manchester United’s Paul Pogba all buckle to the demands of the Premier League as they find their feet.

Lacazette, he claims, is no different and time is a vital ingredient.


The first year is a difficult period

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger


He said: “Christmas and the New Year is always a always a surprise for the players, like Lacazette.

“You accelerate and play more and the body needs to get used to it, the mind as well.

“The first year is a difficult period, because the family comes over and it’s a bit less football-orientated.

“But you get used to it and he has played many games until now and I would say that the physical pressure on the strikers here in England has become absolutely massive.

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“The physical demands and the intensity in the challenges is much bigger than in France and Spain, as Morata has also found.

“It’s normal. Morata, like Lacazett, fights but in England you play against teams who are organised and can physically cope with 90 minutes intensity. The defenders have become much quicker than before – they are all athletes now at the back.”

“You can’t hide as a striker. You have to provoke. At the back you respond. So that means the intensity and the problems and the defender has come always from you.

“The defender can sometimes respond to the situation with experience but the striker has always to be proactive. You need a lot of energy for that.”

“Pogba took a while coming back and now he looks settled, Pogba. Dominating physically. In the first year yes you can suffer a little bit.

“I like players like Lacazette. I like his intelligence. His team attitude and the quality and the speed of understanding with the other players.

Arsene WengerGETTY

Arsene Wenger has told Arsenal fans to be patient with Alexandre Lacazette

“What he has worked on is to cope with the intensity of the challenges. In France you go down it’s a free kick. In England you go down and it’s no free kick.

“That is much more difficult for the striker to get used to that. I think he resists better. This guy is used to scoring 30 goals per year so at the moment even if he says no, I am sure he is frustrated.

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“The first six months are always difficult. I think the fact that he lives here with French players and can speak French when needed, and that Lyon is not too far, is okay. But, the first six months are always difficult.

“I know Lacazette for a long time. In France you have Paris produces maybe 60 or 70% of players. With the suburbs they go south and west.

“After you have Lyon which is a special place in France as they have their own mentality. They don’t like to move away usually. They produce their own players, the players who grew up around Lyons like Fekir, Lacazette, Gonalons. They all stay in Lyons.

“They usually like to stay there. They are players with a special mentality and I did not know whether they wanted to move or not. Does he want to go abroad or not. It is a very specific French players at Lyon.”

Wenger will say a special thank you today to Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe for his help in restoring the fitness and confidence back into midfield ace Jack Wilshere.

Arsenal’s midfield maestro spent last season on loan at the South Coast following a brutal spate of injuries.

He suffered another injury against Chelsea in midweek and is doubtful for the match, but Wenger added: “His spent at Bournemouth was postitive. It was good for him to play a whole season.

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“Overall, I think the question mark over Jack is is he capable to play 30 games per year and many questioned that, even on the medical side also. I believe that for his confidence, that was absolutely vital.

“I am grateful for the work Eddie did with him. I was not surprised he came back. I wasn’t sure myself if he would, but I would have respected his decision.

“But today I am pleased he came back. He is an Arsenal man. He has been educated here, he is through and through Arsenal. I hope we will find the solution to extend him and to keep him.”

Original Article

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