Arsenal had already qualified for the UEFA Europa League round of 32 before the match against Qarabag was played and everyone expected Unai Emery to use a weak squad which would be full of youngsters. But surprisingly, the Arsenal lineup to face Qarabag had some big names like Mesut Ozil, Sokratis and Alexandre Lacazette yet most thought that these three could be rested.
Unai Emery’s decision to include Alexandre Lacazette in the starting eleven paid off as he was the one that scored Arsenal’s only goal against Qarabag to give them all the three points ahead of their match against Southampton on Sunday. Alexandre Lacazette finished off the first half and was substituted in the second half, possibly because Unai Emery wanted to keep him safe for their upcoming important matches.
Arsenal head coach Unai Emery held a pre-match press conference after the match against Qarabag and was questioned on why he included Alexandre Lacazette in the starting eleven in a pressure free game yet they have an important match on Sunday.
“First we needed to have the mix of the first XI with young players. You can improve, you can play better if you have players who can help you on the pitch.” Unai Emery told Arsenal’s official website.
“For example Sokratis, he cannot play Sunday and he could play today. Lacazette, I think he needs rhythm to play and it’s not bad for him to play today.”
“We decided for this reason and because every player who played today can play Sunday.”
So it seems Unai Emery wants Alexandre Lacazette to stay sharp since he has been giving him a few minutes in the Premier League but maybe his goal against Qarabag will earn him a starting spot this weekend. Alexandre Lacazette looked hungry for goals on Thursday night and this tells you how he is trying hard to impress Unai Emery.