Andy Cole accuses Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta of being ‘disrespectful’ to Alexandre Lacazette after he picked winger Willian to start up-front in narrow defeat by Manchester City
- Mikel Arteta played winger Willian as a striker instead of Alexandre Lacazette
- Andy Cole has labelled the move as ‘disrespectful’ to the French frontman
- The Gunners suffered a narrow 1-0 defeat against Manchester City on Saturday
- The former Premier League striker says Arsenal top scorer should have started
The Gunners fell to a narrow 1-0 defeat at the Etihad on Saturday thanks to Raheem Sterling‘s first half winner.
Arteta decided against using young striker Eddie Nketiah, who started their previous game, for the tie but instead of promoting Lacazette to the striker position he moved usual winger Willian to a central role.
Mikel Arteta has been questioned for starting Willian up front over Alexandre Lacazette
The manager opted to start the Brazilian winger (R) instead of Gunners top scorer Lacazette
And Cole, one of the Premier League’s great frontmen, says playing a midfielder over a striker in that position is the ultimate insult.
‘I think he is being disrespectful to Lacazette as well. Willian is not a centre-forward,’ Cole said on TalkSport.
‘If you have got a centre-forward on the bench who is your top goalscorer as well, to turn around and say, ‘Look, I am going to play Willian as the centre-forward. You sit on the bench and watch him play centre-forward’, I think that is very disrespectful.’
Lacazette was brought on for the Brazilian in the 69th minute but failed to have an impact for the north London side.
Former Premier league striker Andy Cole labelled move as ‘very disrespectful’ to the forward
After the match, Arteta was questioned about the decision and explained his tactics.
‘We need to have the versatility to play in different formations occupying different spaces. It was a game for him, the way City plays and the way they track the opponents and the spaces that can be used,’ said the Gunners boss. ‘He was really convinced as well.
‘It was obviously really hard to leave two strikers on the bench but it was a tactical decision.’
The Frenchman started and scored in each of Arsenal’s first three Premier League games this season but was a substitute for the last two for the fifth-placed side.