When France announced their 23-man squad to take to the World Cup this summer in May, there were some eyebrows raised, especially over the expulsion of three key French forwards: Manchester United’s Anthony Martial, Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema, and Arsenal’s Alexandre Lacazette. The biggest name on the list is probably Anthony Martial’s, but there can be good debate over whether Lacazette should’ve made the squad. Lacazette, whom Arsenal signed in the summer of 2017, is a good, physical striker, who makes his presence in the box and who’s shooting is on point. Despite this though, the Frenchman managed only 17 goals in 39 matches at Arsenal, compared to 102 goals in 159 matches (a conversion rate of 44% versus 64%).
However, it does seem unfair to judge his ability based off just one season. Adapting to the English style of physical play and Arsenal’s quick passing takes time, and to be fair, his 17 goals did fair better than other strikers in England this season. With that being said, did Lacazette deserve to miss out on the nation side, L’equipe? His goal scoring record in France was one of the best and he impressed at times in England as well. But at the same time, France could only take a certain number of players, and perhaps others like Griezmann, Giroud, and Mbappe have impressed more than Lacazette. However, the reason for him not being included might not be due to his club performances.
Lacazette made his national team debut for France on 5 June, 2013 versus Uruguay, and since then, has only managed three goals in sixteen appearances. After being given multiple chances in five years, Lacazette hasn’t lived up to expectations on the international stage. Therefore, Didier Deschamps might’ve made the right decision and dropping Lacazette, and paving the way for more proven players, such as the likes of Giroud and Greizmann, while bringing in new, young talent, like Kilian Mbappe.
France play their first World Cup fixture against Australia on Saturday at 6 AM Eastern Time and are drawn in Group C with Denmark and Peru.