Alexandre Lacazette should be Arsenal’s designated penalty taker from now on, as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has had his chance.
On Saturday, Aubameyang saw his 90th-minute penalty saved to prevent Arsenal from winning the North London derby and cutting the gap to their rivals to just one point. It was the second of five penalties the Gabon international has seen saved with the club, and his second of three against the big-six clubs he’s failed to score.
There’s no doubt Aubameyang is a top class striker. His movement and pace are phenomenal, creating plenty of chances for himself, and he then finishes a high percentage of those. When it comes to penalties, though, Lacazette is clearly superior.
Before I go on, it’s worth mentioning that Lacazette was on the bench on this occasion, so he wasn’t available to take the penalty. That’s not what this post is about. This is about what should happen from now on when both players are on the pitch.
So far, we’ve seen two examples where both Lacazette and Aubameyang were on the pitch and available to take a spot-kick. The first was against Stoke last season, where Aubameyang took the penalty. He then gave Lacazette the second when Arsenal were already 2-0 up, but he took the important match-changing one.
The second was against Cardiff in January. Once again, Aubameyang took the penalty. Clearly, he has priority over the Frenchman, but that shouldn’t be the case.
Aubameyang’s penalty record over his career is average. He’s scored 23 and missed 8, putting him at a 74% conversion rate.
Meanwhile, Lacazette’s record is excellent, having scored 26 and missed 5 (83.9%). That’s better than Lionel Messi (76.6%), Cristiano Ronaldo (83.2%), Harry Kane (82.9%), Sergio Agüero (80.8%) and Mohamed Salah (76.9%), among others.
Additionally, Lacazette has scored all three of his attempts for the Gunners. He sent the goalkeeper the wrong way twice, but the third went in despite the keeper guessing correctly.
That’s something that’s never happened with Aubameyang at Arsenal. If the goalkeeper guesses correctly with one of the ex-Dortmund star’s penalties, he saves it.
It may not be a regular occurrence from now on, but when Arsenal do win a penalty with both strikers on the pitch, Lacazette should be the one stepping up to the spot.