Former Arsenal striker Kevin Campbell says Arsene Wenger’s treatment of summer signing Alexandre Lacazette is disgraceful and damaging to the striker’s confidence.
After he missed a couple of good opportunities against Tottenham at the weekend, some fans turned on Lacazette.
The Frenchman received abusive Instagram comments and a tweet of a fan burning his shirt got a lot of attention.
Campbell said the treatment of Lacazette by those supporters is “despicable”. Then he blamed Wenger for letting the situation get out of hand.
“[Arsene Wenger] has hung Lacazette out to dry,” Campbell, who played for Arsenal between 1988-1995, wrote on Twitter. “Disgraceful and extremely harmful to his confidence. £52m striker plays and is not dropped to the bench time and again! That is hanging him out to dry, culminating in a loss of confidence!”
Lacazette’s time in the Premier League has been very stop-start so far. Overall, he has 22 starts for the season, which doesn’t sound so bad. Yet early on, Arsene Wenger dropped him in some big games. The matches away to Liverpool and Manchester City are good examples of that.
Then there was the fact he hardly ever finishes the games he does start. Before the turn of the year, Lacazette only played 90 minutes four times. In those four matches, he scored twice and assisted one, but on every single occasion he didn’t play 90 minutes in the next match.
Eventually, in mid-January, he finally played a full match on two consecutive occasions. By that point, he was eight matches without a league goal, so his confidence wasn’t exactly very high. After that, Arsenal signed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and Lacazette went back to the bench.
I wouldn’t call that treatment ‘disgraceful’, personally. I genuinely believe Wenger was just trying to do what was best for the team. Olivier Giroud made a great plan B, and Aubameyang will hopefully push the side to a new level. Unfortunately, Lacazette was the victim of those decisions.
Even worse, the striker has now suffered an injury keeping him out for four-to-six weeks. Perhaps his form and limited game-time were to do with his knee problem, but at this stage that’s just speculation. We’ll have to wait for the club to release more information to know if this is a new problem or not.