Arsenal were dealt a massive blow to their preparations for their crunch Premier League clash with Manchester United as Gunners boss Arsene Wenger confirmed in-form striker Alexandre Lacazette will miss Saturday’s tie with a groin injury.
“Lacazette has a groin problem and will certainly be out for Saturday’s game,” Wenger said after seeing his side demolish Huddersfield Town 5-0 on Wednesday night.
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Lacazette, Arsenal’s club-record signing, was replaced by compatriot Olivier Giroud at half-time and the Gunners made light of his absence to smash the hapless Terriers with four second-half goals.
The former Lyon man’s unavailability, however will be keenly felt against the Red Devils, who possess the best defence in the Premier League.
Since his £56 million arrival in the summer, Lacazette has fired in seven goals in 14 league games.
Despite his relatively short stature (5 ft 9 inches), the 26-year-old Frenchman has scored a few headers while his terrific pace and link-up with Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil has impressed the Gunners faithful to no end.
In his absence, Wenger has two options.
Either he starts Alexis Sanchez at the tip of the Arsenal attack like he did in a game against Manchester City or he plays the Chilean in his usual role on the flank with Giroud leading the line as a traditional striker.
Saturday’s tie at the Emirates is the highlight Premier League clash of the weekend, for not only have the sides produced classics in the past, they are among the most in-form sides in the English top-flight.
Both Arsenal and United have won their last three games on the trot and with their respective managers (Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho) having no love lost for the other, Saturday’s tie promises to be a fiery one.