'We need to give Lucas some time'

Lucas Perez

Arsene Wenger believes Lucas can be a prolific scorer for Arsenal - but he needs to be given time.

The Spanish forward made his Premier League debut on Saturday - on his 28th birthday - and showed glimpses of his ability in a 2-1 win over Southampton.

Lucas played a part in Laurent Koscielny’s stunning strike and Wenger expects him to deliver goals of his own soon.

 “I hope so,” said the boss. “I think he got 17 goals last year. In the second half, I think he combined much better. It is not easy as well to start at home, the pressure is there for everybody and everybody has their eyes on them. 

“You could see that especially with Mustafi, because in the second half he was much more comfortable than in the first. 

“Let’s give [Lucas] time. We have scored goals since the start of the season, but we bought one more striker because we thought we needed one more let’s give him time and not judge him too quickly.”

All eyes were on Koscielny on Saturday after that spectacular overhead kick, and Wenger says he is a natural choice as captain in the absence of the injured Per Mertesacker.

“He is one of the most experienced players we have here,” said Wenger. “He has been the longest-serving defender. 

“He is one of our best players, and when I think about the squad when you pick a captain, you think of one with a good chance to play. If you never see the game, that’s not easy nowadays. 

“I believe as well he has committed to the club with a long contract and he has always improved every year. Today he was an outstanding centre back.

“What I like is that it was his birthday, and he gave himself a great present. As well, he doesn’t score that when it is 4-0, it is when you are 1-0 down and that is his quality.”

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