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Sokratis backs Alexandre Lacazette to fill Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's scoring boots

Alexandre Lacazette

Sokratis Papastathopoulos believes Arsenal will cope without Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in their next three matches.

Aubameyang was sent off for a foul on Max Meyer in the second half of Saturday's 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace (opens in new tab).

The Gabon international, who has scored 14 goals in the Premier League this term, will miss upcoming fixtures against Sheffield United (opens in new tab) and Chelsea (opens in new tab) in the top flight, and Bournemouth (opens in new tab) in the FA Cup.

But Sokratis believes Alexandre Lacazette will step up in the absence of his fellow forward.

"Auba is a very important player for us,” said the centre-back. “He’s the captain of the team.

"But now is the time that other players step up and show quality, they show mentality and they help the team and also the manager to do his work.

“We have to improve, to step up and to show that the year is not finished and that we have to fight for this.

“He’s a machine. A goal machine,” he said of Lacazette. “Laca’s a very good player. In some games, from the outside, you can’t see what he can do.

“Maybe he is struggling a little bit, but we have to see also how the game is and which guy he has behind him.

“Laca on Saturday was against two players every time. When you play the ball to him it’s very difficult [for him] to do the first control because all the defenders are strong.

“I think Laca is coming better and better. I think he is a very good player, a massively important player for us.

“We are with him every time, he is with us and we will show altogether in the future a lot of things.”

Arsenal (opens in new tab) have won only two of their last 14 Premier League encounters and remain in 10th place after Saturday's draw with Palace.

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Greg Lea
Greg Lea

Greg Lea is a freelance football journalist who's filled in wherever FourFourTwo needs him since 2014. He became a Crystal Palace fan after watching a 1-0 loss to Port Vale in 1998, and once got on the scoresheet in a primary school game against Wilfried Zaha's Whitehorse Manor (an own goal in an 8-0 defeat).