Alexandre Lacazette has looked like a player reborn this season in Lyon as the former Arsenal striker now leads the way for goals scored in 2023.
With 16 strikes in 2023 alone, even Erling Haaland is one behind the Frenchman right now. He is scoring at an unprecedented rate and Lyon are playing some delightfully fluid football in the meantime.
Had you told an Arsenal fan this time last year that Lacazette is putting up these sorts of numbers, they would have laughed in your face – and rightly so.
The 31-year-old didn’t quite seem himself in his final few years in North London. Once considered an ice-cold finisher, he just seemed to lose his touch towards the end.
Gunners fans will have been ripping their hair out watching him at times last season. Only Brentford’s Bryan Mbeumo had a bigger xG underperformance than Lacazette in the Premier League last season. Ouch.
Fast forward six months and he’s now thriving back in Lyon. He’s swiftly put the wasteful tag to bed as he is now the fifth most clinical player in Ligue 1, based on his xG this season.
His latest finish reminds us of his first days at Arsenal under Arsene Wenger. Lyon brilliantly build the ball up from the back with a series of intricate passes before threading the ball up the pitch.
This goal is all about the build-up. Every single outfield player touches the ball before Lacazette is left with a simple finish. Wenger would be proud of this one.
Building from the back 🔥
Alexandre Lacazette bags his 26th Ligue 1 goal of the season for Lyon… pic.twitter.com/6MN6BLryxV
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) May 19, 2023
In all competitions, the Frenchman has now scored 30 goals, making this his second-most prolific season to date. If he manages to notch seven more goals, he will match is best-ever tally from 2016–17.
Sometimes all a striker needs is a little bit of love and that’s exactly what he’s getting this year. With 26 strikes in the league, he is now level with Kylian Mbappe in the race for the Ligue 1 Golden Boot.
Gunners fans will be pleased to know that their former frontman is still keeping up with how things are going in North London under Mikel Arteta.
“Arsenal? I’m not surprised, I worked with the coach (Mikel Arteta, editor’s note), he had this in mind, I know his way of working, I’m not surprised by the success of the club and I’m happy for my teammates there,” he explained via Foot Mercato.
Lyon themselves currently sit seventh in the league and are chasing down a spot in Europe. With just two games to go they will probably need to win both of them to give themselves a fighting chance.
Regardless of where they finish though, Lacazette can be proud that he has rediscovered his mojo. From a player who looked lost towards the end at Arsenal, to Europe’s outright top scorer in 2023. Now that’s some journey.
By Ben Stewart.