Alexandre Lacazette should not be judged on his strike rate alone, says former Arsenal striker Alan Smith, with the Frenchman being backed to add to his disappointing six-goal tally in the enforced absence of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
The Gunners are set to be without their captain and most prolific frontman for the next three games, with an untimely red card delivering an unwelcome ban.
With Aubameyang ruled out, the likes of Lacazette and club-record signing Nicolas Pepe are expected to step up and fill the void.
A France international striker has struggled for a spark this season, with his end product dipping in a third campaign at Emirates Stadium, but Smith feels the 28-year-old still offers plenty to the cause.
The ex-Arsenal frontman is also of the opinion that Lacazette will come good under added pressure in the coming weeks.
Smith told the Evening Standard: “Scoreless streaks get microscopically examined. There is nowhere to hide in this stats-driven age.
“Alexandre Lacazette is getting it just now after failing to find the net in five starts, plus 12 minutes as a substitute at Goodison Park. All sorts of questions are being asked about his form and confidence ahead of a three-match run when top scorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will be suspended.
“Can the Frenchman step up in his mate’s absence? Is he in the right frame of mind to do the job?
“Admittedly, it isn’t just about the last few games. Lacazette has notched just six all season. At this rate, he’ll fall a long way short of previous totals.
“Arsenal’s No.9 isn’t just a predator. He works hard off the ball and links the play very well. He shouldn’t purely be judged by his strike rate.
“For that reason alone, I’m inclined to keep faith in a player more than capable of rediscovering his touch in front of goal.
“With young guns such as Gabriel Martinelli and Eddie Nketiah acting as back-up, I’d fancy the senior man to respond fairly promptly, which might mean Sheffield United feeling the brunt.”
Arsenal, looking for a second Premier League win under new manager Mikel Arteta, will take in a home date with the Blades on Saturday.