Arsenal

Alexandre Lacazette proves he still has something to offer Arsenal in Crystal Palace draw

Tom Gott
Lacazette shone for Arsenal against Crystal Palace
Lacazette shone for Arsenal against Crystal Palace / Chloe Knott - Danehouse/GettyImages
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Let's be honest. For about 70 minutes of Monday's Premier League action, Arsenal's forward line was woeful.

Despite taking an early lead through Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, the Gunners just looked clunky throughout as Mikel Arteta's 4-1-4-1 setup didn't work.

Nicolas Pepe, Martin Odegaard, Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka all stepped on each others' toes and it left Arsenal chasing the game even when they were leading. It didn't work at all, and something needed to change.

Before turning to young Gabriel Martinelli, Arteta opted to put his faith in Lacazette, who absolutely stole the show during his 20 minutes on the pitch.

The 30-year-old Frenchman looked back to his best as he flew around the pitch with brilliant energy, combining well with Pierre-Emerich Aubameyang for what feels like the first time in years and asking real questions of a Palace defence that had otherwise breezed through the game.

After forcing Vicente Guaita to make an excellent save, Lacazette got the reward he deserved with practically the final kick of the game as he bundled home from some penalty box pinball to hand Arsenal a point which, truthfully, they didn't deserve.

It was just his first goal of the season, which isn't a particular surprise as he is yet to start a Premier League game this year - something that might be about to change.

There's no denying that Lacazette's form has dipped in recent years, and the combination of his age and the eight months remaining on his contract have left Arsenal fans ready to see the back of him, but they might be thinking twice now.

Anyone who had forgotten Lacazette's quality will have been served a stark reminder that not only is he a competent player, but at times, he can be the team's deadliest forward.

He might not be the prolific goal machine he once was, but Lacazette's talent is still obviously there. It's just up to Arteta to figure out how to maximise that and profit from it for the rest of the season, and perhaps longer if a new contract can be agreed.

This 4-1-4-1 formation is quite clearly not the answer, but Arteta did find a way to make Arsenal work with Aubameyang and Lacazette on the field for the first time in forever, and that's the only takeaway from this match that Gunners fans will care about.

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