Alexandre Lacazette’s headed opener in Arsenal’s 2-0 win over WBA showed the value of following up long-rangers for cheap rebound goals.
West Brom had some very good chances in Monday’s defeat at the Emirates and could have led at half-time, but trailed instead to a 20th minute header from Lacazette. That simple nodded strike showed vital qualities which every striker could learn from.
From top-level action to grass-roots kids’ football, all strikers should be programmed to follow-up long-range shots in case the ball comes loose. Shots can come back off the bar or post and goalkeepers can fail to hold on to saves.
The Baggies threatened Arsenal in the first half and could easily have had an early penalty, after Shkodran Mustafi appeared to drag down Jay Rodriguez, but Arsenal survived to make the most of Lacazette’s goal-poaching.
Rebound goals are the loose change of football and being ready to take advantage gives strikers cheap easy finishes that can decide matches. In a tight game that was still in the balance, Lacazette’s opportunism swung the game Arsenal’s way.
Alexis Sanchez’s free-kick was tipped onto the bar by Ben Foster and WBA should have been safe, but Lacazette was running in focused and ready. When the ricochet dropped, he had an easy header. Gutting for West Brom, great for Arsenal.
The simple goal gave Arsenal a vital foundation. When the Gunners later earned a penalty (above), for Allan Nyom’s push on Aaron Ramsey, Lacazette then showed why he has the nickname in France of ‘Penazette’. He knew exactly what he was doing, planting a firm side-footer into the bottom-left corner.
West Brom’s resolve departed the moment Arsenal extended their lead. With a quarter of the game left, the Baggies seemed to accept their fate and a 2-0 defeat, becoming less attentive to Arsenal’s midfield runs.
A tough match which threatened a home defeat became a routine 2-0 win for the Gunners. That can be traced purely to Lacazette showing the value of following up long-range efforts, in case the ball comes loose, for an easy rebound goal.
(Photo courtesy of @thatsimonrose)