Mikel Arteta explains why he dropped Arsenal matchwinner Alexandre Lacazette vs Brighton

Mikel Arteta's Arsenal enjoyed a 1-0 win over Brighton which lifted them further clear of the relegation zone
Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal enjoyed a 1-0 win over Brighton which lifted them further clear of the relegation zone (Picture: Hayters YouTube)

Mikel Arteta revealed a sore back prompted him to drop Alexandre Lacazette to the substitutes’ bench against Brighton on Tuesday evening.

The Arsenal striker gave arguably his best performance of the season in the Boxing Day win over Chelsea, setting the tone for his team’s victory with an all-action display, capped by a first goal Premier League goal since September.

Lacazette had to settle for a place on the bench against fellow strugglers Brighton, however, with captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang restored to the starting XI following a two-game absence due to injury.

The Arsenal skipper wasted the best chance of the game early in the second period against Brighton, but his teammate Lacazette spared his blushes just 21 seconds after his introduction, drilling the ball past Robert Sanchez following fine approach play from Bukayo Saka.

Arteta admitted it was a difficult decision to drop the former Lyon captain but he always knew the 29-year-old would have a decisive role to play against the Seagulls.

Bukayo Saka and Alexandre Lacazette combined for Arsenal's winning goal at Brighton
Bukayo Saka and Alexandre Lacazette combined for Arsenal’s winning goal at Brighton (Picture: Getty)

He said: ‘He finished the game against Chelsea with some pain (in his back) and we had the opportunity to refresh that and use him in other moments.

‘We didn’t know if Auba could last for 90 minutes, we knew Gabi wasn’t going to last 90 minutes for sure so we had a substitution there, someone with a goal threat that we believed was going to be needed.

‘We need big players and the senior players to step up in these difficult moments and he’s doing that for sure. Front players need as well their teammates to support them and put them in situations like he had today as often as possible.

‘But at the same time they have to step up and create these opportunities themselves. I think Laca is working very hard.

‘Since I’ve been here his work has never been an issue. His goalscoring record could improve and but it’s improving because he’s so willing to do it for us also.’

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