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'Aubameyang's Barcelona exit made Arsenal's Lacazette more focused' - Ashton

21:41 GMT+3 15/03/2022
Aubameyang Lacazette Napoli Arsenal Europa League
Both players have excelled for their respective teams in recent games and the former forward has suggested it is because they were separated

Former West Ham forward Dean Ashton believes the exit of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang worked in favour of Alexandre Lacazette who has shown massive improvement in recent matches.

The 32-year-old Aubameyang left Arsenal for Barcelona in the January transfer window and has since scored five goals in six La Liga matches.

At Arsenal, Lacazette has had a hand in six out of 10 goals the club has scored in the last five league matches.

"With Lacazette, you know when you are at school and you sit next to your best mate at the back and you don't get any work done and are rubbish in exams," Ashton said as quoted by Talk Sport.

"As soon as the teacher moves you to the front next to somebody who works hard and is clever, all of a sudden you do great! That’s what it looks like.

"His mate [Aubameyang] is gone and he is more focused, more of a team player, looking more of a threat.

"That is [Mikel] Arteta’s doing, he’s made the decision to go with that and it’s worked."

Ashton has further lauded Arteta for helping the team get over a difficult period when they were struggling at the bottom of the table.

"I just think we should be praising Arteta for getting through the difficult times," the now 38-year-old continued.

"#ARTETAOUT [hashtag] was a massive thing, they had a game against Norwich to go bottom of the league in September and everyone was laughing at them at that point. They won and have never looked back."

Arsenal will hope to continue their fine domestic form when they host Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday.

Currently, they have managed to collect 51 points from the 26 matches, whereby they have won 16, drawn three and lost seven. The Gunners have further scored 43 goals and conceded 29.

Their opponents have played 28 matches and managed to get 66 points from the 20 games they have won. The Reds have further collected six draws and lost two matches, scoring 73 goals and conceding 20.