Andy Cole has questioned Mikel Arteta’s ‘disrespectful’ decision to drop Alexandre Lacazette for Arsenal’s defeat at Manchester City in favour of playing Willian in a central attacking role.
The north London side suffered their second league defeat of the season with a 1-0 loss at the Etihad on Saturday evening, with the Gunners struggling to impose themselves on the clash despite the narrow scoreline.
Arteta’s team selection raised questions after he opted against playing a recognised forward, shifting Willian into an unfamiliar striking role with both Eddie Nketiah and Lacazette amongst the substitutes.
It was a decision that failed to pay off as the Brazilian struggled to get involved in the clash, failing to produce a single shot and registering just 32 touches before being replaced by Lacazette in the second half.
Lacazette had started the club’s opening three league fixtures and scored on each occasion to sit as Arsenal‘s leading scorer in the Premier League so far this season, and former forward Cole believes Arteta’s surprise decision was ‘disrespectful’ to the France international.
“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.”