Press conference

Why didn't Alex Lacazette start away to Brighton?

Mikel Arteta made just one change to the side that beat Chelsea on Boxing Day, as we continued to build momentum with a win at Brighton & Hove Albion.

Alex Lacazette dropped to the bench while captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang returned from injury to lead the line.

So why did Arteta make that decision?

"He had a sore back, so he couldn’t start the game, but he came on and won the game for us, which is massively important," our manager explained.

"We had the opportunity to refresh that and use him as well in other moments. We knew Auba could last for 90 minutes, we knew that Gabi wasn't going to last for 90 minutes for sure, so we had a substitution there and someone with a goal threat that we believed was going to be needed.

"We need big players and the senior players to step up in these difficult moments, and Laca's doing that for sure. Front players need their team-mates to support them and put them in situations like he had today, as often as possible.

"At the same time, they have to step up and create these opportunities themselves. I think Laca has been working really hard. Since I've been here, his work has never been an issue. His goalscoring record could improve but it's improving because he's so willing to do it for us. 

"It was a great move from Bukayo first to create the action that he did, but then I think apart from the finish, it was his movement, the counter move that he made to create the space for himself. With the touch and the finish, I think it was a brilliant goal."

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