Lacazette and Wenger promise improvements from Arsenal’s defense

Alex Lacazette scored with his second touch of the game, his first ever Arsenal shot, and put the Gunners ahead in the 2nd minute on Friday against Leicester. But the Frenchman’s hard work was undone moments later when the Foxes equalized through a deft corner routine. That Leicester goal meant that Lacazette’s first touch was a kickoff, his second touch a goal, and his third touch another kickoff.

Speaking after the match, Lacazette said  “It was a rollercoaster ride but it went well. We let in some goals we could have avoided but we’ll work to ensure we don’t concede any more like that during the season.”

Obviously, winning the match by scoring four goals is brilliant but Arsenal won’t want to make a habit of two-goal comebacks after conceding three. This was a sentiment echoed by Wenger in his post-match presser. When asked, “Are your defensive concerns manifested by the performance today?” which is a nonsense question, really, Wenger managed to peer through the impenetrable and retrieve this answer:

If you were the manager on the bench 3-2 down with 20 minutes to go and you win 4-3 you’re more happy than concerned, you know? And I feel that the goals we conceded we can work together to get rid of that because one was a corner, one was a ball we lost in the build-up, and the third was a corner. So, we conceded two goals on corners. We were quite good last year on corners and overall I believe that with a bit of work we can get that out of the system.

Wenger is right that two of the three goals Arsenal conceded were off corners but all three goals were generated by sloppy buildup play from the Gunners. For the first goal, Leicester won the corner after they pressured Özil with the ball in his own final third and he kicked the ball off a Leicester player for the corner; the second goal was directly from a Xhaka pass to no one; and the third goal was off a corner which was won after Bellerin coughed up the ball and Mahrez eventually took a shot.

Arsenal had 70% of the possession in the match but struggled at times to break the Leicester press. Lacazette also won 3/4 tackles in the match, proving that he’s more than happy to put in the defensive work necessary to help his team win the game. Wenger now has work to do both in terms of ball retention and marking on corners.


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