Arsenal’s toughest test
Arsenal head to Anfield on Saturday evening for a titanic clash with Liverpool.
The Gunners come into the tie unbeaten in 10 games across all competitions, but, Leicester City aside, have played generally the lower league sides in a nice run of fixtures.
AFC Wimbledon ✅
Crystal Palace 🤝
Aston Villa ✅
Unbeaten in 10 – let’s keep it going 🙌 pic.twitter.com/j7NI4R00Zm
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) November 7, 2021
Liverpool, meanwhile, were handed their first defeat of the season by a high-flying West Ham, meaning that another defeat here would in fact drop them below the Gunners, and potentially some way off title pace-setters Chelsea should the Blues pick up three points.
It feels as though it will prove a watershed moment for both sides, with Arsenal needing to prove that their results can be sustained against bigger opponents, and Liverpool desperate not to be consigned to a second straight defeat, least of all under the Anfield lights.
One man who is widely expected to start the game is French striker Alexandre Lacazette, but the Frenchman has just 7 months left on his Emirates contract. Will there be a U-turn?
Arsenal potentially open minded to a short-term deal
As per David Ornstein of The Athletic, there is a possibility that a new deal could be struck for Lacazette, provided it was a short term deal. However, they suggest that this would not suit Laca, while the Gunners are wary that a longer-deal could block the progress of the likes of Folarin Balogun.
The report relates:
For their part, Arsenal are mindful that a new deal for Lacazette would have a domino effect — both in terms of the development of their present crop of young forwards and restricting their ability to bring in a new striker.
Consequently, Arsenal are currently unwilling to sanction the long-term deal Lacazette is believed to want. However, Arsenal do not rule out a short-term agreement: if the club can strike a deal that does not leave them burdened with a lengthy contract or heavy salary, it is still possible the Frenchman could extend his five-year stay.
They conclude that “The door is not yet closed.”
Since then Arsenal are unbeaten in 10 matches. So what happened?
— The Athletic UK (@TheAthleticUK) November 17, 2021
Should Lacazette continue to turn in performances akin to those he has been in the last month, would it be worth trying to hand the 30 year old a new, short-term deal? Or should the Gunner cut their losses?