Mikel Arteta said that Alexandre Lacazette was missing from Arsenal training this week due to ‘private’ reasons which set tongues wagging online but the truth of the matter is a lot more mundane.
Before Arsenal’s must-win game against Southampton on Saturday, Alexandre Lacazette was missing from training sessions.
Reporters naturally asked Mikel Arteta about the striker’s absence, to which Arteta replied, “Obviously, there are private reasons that I cannot comment on, but I have no other team news to give other than the guys we have discussed.”
This, of course, set speculation running wild but it turns out the forward is ill having tested positive for Covid – again.
Lacazette also missed out on Arsenal’s training session on Friday, putting a real doubt over his participation at St Mary’s, and it has now been confirmed he is not in the squad for the game.
That isn’t the worst thing in the world given his recent performances, and while Arsenal are still incredibly light in that area, a change might just be what’s needed.
After all, it couldn’t be worse, could it? Lacazette hasn’t scored a goal from open play since December and has just four Premier League goals all season in 25 matches (with seven assists).
Arsenal were said to have been playing with Eddie Nketiah upfront during training due to Lacazette’s absence.
Martin Odegaard will captain the side.
Arsenal team vs Southampton
Ramsdale, Cedric, White, Gabriel, Tavares, Lokonga, Xhaka; Saka, Odegaard (c), Martinelli, Nketiah
Leno, Holding, Ogungbo, Swanson, Elneny, Azeez, Smith Rowe, Hutchinson, Pepe