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Wenger may need to put faith in Lacazette for north London derby

Wenger may need to put faith in Lacazette for north London derby

LONDON: Arsenal’s record signing Alexandre Lacazette has not been a certain starter this season and will be desperate to prove his worth in their Premier League derby against Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday.

Arsenal head into the match in sixth place, four points adrift of Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham in third and needing victory to stay in touch with leaders Manchester City.

Defeat to their north London rivals would leave Arsenal’s title hopes hanging by a thread, but there is no guarantee that manager Arsene Wenger will put his trust in his 47 million pounds ($62 million) close season signing to lead the line.

Lacazette has scored six goals in his debut campaign in England, yet has only once played a full 90 minutes for the club.

The 26-year-old came on as a substitute in the defeat by Manchester City before the international break, scoring a goal that briefly brought his side back into contention.

He also did not start the humbling 4-0 loss at Liverpool earlier in the season.

Yet when he has started, the Frenchman, who scored twice for his country in a friendly against Germany on Tuesday, has shown he is not just a goalscorer, particularly in the 0-0 draw with champions Chelsea in September.

Lacazette began the match with Alex Iwobi and Danny Welbeck in attack, keeping constant pressure on Chelsea’s defence and nullifying their ability to pass into midfield.

Tottenham finished above Arsenal for the first time since 1995 last season and have not tasted defeat against their arch rivals in the league in over three years.

Mauricio Pochettino’s side have continued to shine this season, notably in their recent Champions League victory over Real Madrid, and sit four points above Arsenal in the table.

But Spurs have not won at the Emirates Stadium since November 2010 and Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes home advantage could give his team the edge.

“I think Tottenham are a good side, but we have the quality to win this game and that’s what we want to show,” he said. “At home we have been very strong and our home strength will certainly be vital to decide where we finish at the end of the season.”


Manchester City will look to pull further away at the top of the Premier League when they travel to Leicester City later on Saturday.

The league leaders are eight points clear after their unbeaten start to Pep Guardiola’s second season in charge.

Leicester will attempt to replicate their performance in this match-up last season, where a Jamie Vardy hat-trick helped them to a 4-2 victory.

Chelsea visit a West Bromwich Albion side sitting just a point above the relegation zone and in desperate need of a first win in the league since August.

The champions are one of several leading teams who have been left in City’s wake. However, Alvaro Morata’s second-half header brought them an impressive 1-0 win over Manchester United on their most recent outing and they are now just a point off second place.

Neck-and-neck with City at the end of September, United have fallen off the pace after a 0-0 draw at Liverpool and successive away defeats against Huddersfield Town and Chelsea.

But their injury situation appears to be improving, with Marouane Fellaini and Michael Carrick fit again and Phil Jones set to be available despite an injury scare with England.

There are also reports Paul Pogba and long-term absentee Zlatan Ibrahimovic could be on the bench for Saturday’s home game against Newcastle United, which would give Jose Mourinho’s side a major lift.


Saturday (1500 GMT unless otherwise stated): Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur (1230 GMT), Bournemouth v Huddersfield Town, Burnley v Swansea City, Crystal Palace v Everton, Leicester City v Manchester City, Liverpool v Southampton, Manchester United v Newcastle United (1730 GMT), West Bromwich Albion v Chelsea.

Sunday (1600 GMT): Watford v West Ham United.

Monday (2000 GMT): Brighton and Hove Albion v Stoke City.

Published in Dawn, November 18th, 2017

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