Mikel Arteta facing transfer decision as Jamie Carragher hails

In pictures: Arsenal v Aston Villa

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Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is facing a huge transfer decision after Jamie Carragher hailed the performance of “outstanding” striker Alexandre Lacazette against Aston Villa. Goals from Thomas Partey, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Emile Smith Rowe were enough to secure all three points for the Gunners.

Having scored a late equaliser against Crystal Palace last Monday, Lacazette was handed a rare start by Arteta for the visit of Villa.

The Frenchman played 68 minutes of the Premier League clash, impressing with his work off the ball and linking up well with Aubameyang.

Lacazette won three of his duels and made five recoveries to help Arsenal to a comfortable win, in his first league start of the campaign.

Though he failed to trouble Villa keeper Emiliano Martinez, having failed to have a shot either on or off target, it was still a good performance from the 30-year-old.

Heading into the game on Friday night, Arsenal had struggled for goals and were among the lowest scorers in the league.

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But the introduction of Lacazette appears to have changed their fortunes, scoring three times for just the second time this season.

His performance drew the eye of Liverpool legend Carragher, who hailed the Frenchman for his work rate.

“I think players that we’ve been critical of at times last season, Lacazette and Aubameyang at the top end of the pitch, are they giving 100%? Are they working for the team?” Carragher told Sky Sports.

“They were brilliant tonight and at times we’ve thought can they play together as a front two which they did.

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“Lacazette in that number ten position was outstanding as well. Something that stood out to me in commentary was when three or four players all got round Leon Bailey, around the ball.

“When you’re watching a team and you see that you can feel something, they’re working together. That energy. I thought it was a really big strong performance.”

Lacazette’s starring role in the win over Villa now leaves Arteta with a huge decision to make over his future.

The striker’s contract is set to expire at the end of this season, with many expecting him to depart the capital.

It was thought that Arteta was ready to let him leave the club when his contract ended, having failed to provide the goals expected of his £46million fee.

But having played such a key role in Arsenal’s last two games, Arteta now needs to decide if he will reverse that decision.

The Gunners boss will need to act quickly if he does want Lacazette to stay though, with the striker free to talk to foreign clubs over a possible move from January.

Arteta could look to replace Lacazette in the January transfer window, but if the Frenchman continues his run of form, it will leave the Arsenal chief with a hard decision to make.
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