Arsenal will have to do without French international striker Alexandre Lacazette for a pivotal stretch of their season.
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Lacazette, 26, has suffered a left knee injury and has undergone surgery which will keep him out for up to six weeks.
The North London club released a statement on Lacazette’s injury.
“Striker Alex Lacazette had an arthroscopy on his left knee in London on Tuesday morning. The minor procedure was a success and he will now undergo a period of rehabilitation. It is envisaged that he will return to the squad within four to six weeks.”
It was expected that Lacazette would play a significant number of minutes in the UEFA Europa League, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang ineligible to play in European competitions following his arrival from Borussia Dortmund in January.
Before Aubameyang arrived for a club-record $79.6 million fee, Lacazette was Arsenal’s record signing with the predatory forward signing from Lyon last summer for $73 million but he has only been used as a sub in each of the Gunners’ last two games. Lacazette had two glorious chances to equalize late on against Spurs in the 1-0 North London Derby defeat on Saturday but was off target with both attempts.
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Lacaztte has scored nine goals in 26 PL appearances for Arsenal this season, which is a decent return but a little less than was expected given his record of 100 goals in 171 starts for Lyon in Ligue 1.
Danny Welbeck will be the main man for their Europa League Round of 32 games against Ostersunds, and likely the last 16, if they advance, which is far from ideal. Welbeck has once again struggled with injuries this season and has scored six goals in 25 appearances in all competitions, mostly off the bench.
Aubameyang will ease the burden of losing Lacazette but with Alexis Sanchez joining Manchester United and Theo Walcott leaving for Everton in January, all of a sudden Arsene Wenger‘s forward options are limited.
Arsenal still have options, but not what you need when you’re trying to claw back an eight-point gap to the top four, have a League Cup final against Manchester City and are in the latter stages of the Europe League.