Player of the season

2018/19 Player of the Season: Alex Lacazette

We can now reveal our 2018/19 Player of the Season - as voted for by you, the fans.

Our winner is Alexandre Lacazette, who has enjoyed a stellar campaign up front and deservedly claimed 35 per cent of the votes cast. Rob Kelly gives his verdict on the 27-year-old.

The goals, the assists, the celebrations, the sauce: it has been some season for Alex Lacazette.

If the mark of an elite forward is to make the difference when their team needs it most, then take a quick glance at Laca's campaign.

Goals against Liverpool, Tottenham, Chelsea and Valencia only tell half the story, as do his assists against Manchester United both home and away.

For while they underline Laca's status as a big-game player, it is perhaps more telling to look at when the majority of his 18 goals have been scored to understand just how important he has been.

Take, for example, his first goal of the season, away at Cardiff. Toiling at 2-2 with the newly-promoted side entering the final 10 minutes, suddenly a chance presented itself and the striker made no mistake. Top corner. Three points. Job done.

His next, at home against Everton, was similarly important against stubborn opponents who had kept us at bay until Lacazette collected the ball to the left of the box and curled an unstoppable strike into the top corner. His celebration also caught fire on social media -and would be far from the last to do so - firmly establishing his place in Arsenal fans' hearts.

Of his 18 goals this season, 11 have given us the lead in a match - and we've gone on to win 10 of those matches. The outlier was the 1-1 draw with Liverpool at the Emirates back in November, when his tenacity, composure and clinical finishing sealed a very hard-earned point.

But it is not only what Laca has done in front of goal that has sealed his position as your Player of the Season. 

It is also down to his force of personality, his ability to lift the team and the crowd with a simple chase back to win the ball, lung-busting run at goal or threading of an eye-of-the-needle pass. Or the fact he simply appears to have so much fun, whether that's in shooting practice on the training ground or doing an UnClassic Commentary with Auba.

Football may be a serious business, but that doesn't mean you can't have fun. And Laca has fun, lots of it - but he remains a serious talent, and a deserved winner of our Player of the Season for 2018/19.


WHAT THEY SAID

 

“Mesut and Laca are wonderful players and people. They bring in that quality touch that the team needs. They dictate the tempo in every play of the game. Laca is in great scoring form, which is really important for us."
Lucas Torreira

"[He works on free kicks] all the time, he's a player that wants to work and wants to win. He wants to win all the time, he is very passionate about his football and you could see what the goal meant to him."
Ainsley Maitland-Niles on Laca's free kick v Napoli

BEST MOMENTS

Arsenal 1-1 Liverpool
Premier League
November 3, 2018

In one of the most intense, high-energy games of the season, we were trailing Liverpool with seven minutes remaining - but continuing to knock at the door. Step forward Laca, who burst on to an Iwobi through ball and took the ball around Allison. The angle was too tight for the France international to shoot first time, but he kept his cool to check back before curling a wonderful effort into the far corner to rescue a well-earned point.

 

Arsenal 4-2 Tottenham
Premier League
December 2, 2018

While Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang took most of the headlines after a brace in this north London derby, it was Lacazette's goal that turned this clash around. Having seen his strike partner equalise with a brilliant first-time strike, the Frenchman gave us the lead with a typically direct run and shot. Sure, it took a deflection off Eric Dier to squirm into the bottom corner but the way Laca found the space to shoot underlines his quality.

 

Napoli 0-1 Arsenal
Europa League
April 18, 2019

With a 2-0 lead from the first leg heading into the return match at Stadio San Paolo, this quarter-final tie was on a knife-edge with many predicting that the first goal would have a huge impact. When it came, in the 36th minute, it was wort waiting for as Lacazette curled a stunning 30-yard free kick into the top corner. It gave us a precious away goal, took the stuffing out of Napoli and booked our place in the final four. Job done.

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