Arsene Wenger unconcerned by Alexandre Lacazette's scoring drought

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Alexandre Lacazette

Arsene Wenger has conceded that Alexandre Lacazette‘s confidence has taken a knock but insists he is not concerned by his record signing’s goal drought.

Lacazette hit the ground running following his £50million move from Lyon last summer, netting four times in his opening six league fixtures for Arsenal.

But the France international, 26, has now gone nearly 10 hours without finding the back of the net – he last scored in the 3-1 defeat against Manchester United at the beginning of December – and he was largely ineffectual in the Carabao Cup semi-final at Chelsea before he was substituted in the second half.

Lacazette, however, is likely to be given another chance to recapture his early-season form when Arsenal travel to Bournemouth in the Premier League on Sunday.

Wenger could be without Mesut Ozil as he battles a knee issue, while the ongoing uncertainty over Alexis Sanchez‘s future may result in him being unavailable. Olivier Giroud, who has been sidelined since Arsenal’s EFL Cup win over West Ham last month with a hamstring injury, will also be absent for a further fortnight.

“(The lack of goals) certainly affects him (Lacazette) a little bit, but I am not worried,” Wenger said. “He was diminished a bit physically on Wednesday night against Chelsea because he was not at his best before the game, but he was as well very isolated.

“It was a difficult game for a striker because he did defend a lot, but overall I don’t worry that he will come back and it’s in cycles. At the moment he’s going through a cycle that is a bit more frustrating for him.”

Arsenal return to Bournemouth for the first time since their thrilling 3-3 draw on the south coast last season.

Wenger’s side were left stunned as the hosts raced into a three-goal lead, but the Gunners completed a dramatic comeback when Giroud netted a stoppage-time equaliser.

Bournemouth have won only one of their last 10 matches in the Premier League and have slipped to 16th.

But Wenger is anticipating a tough time of it from Eddie Howe’s team as Arsenal bid to get their top-four ambitions back on track.

“Last year was a spectacular game, where it finished 3-3,” Wenger added. “Basically what can happen in the story of a game is that you can go through all kind of states of mind – the nightmare, the relief and then the frustration – because we could have won the game in the end.

“They are a team who have a bit more difficulty this season but down there they can make it difficult for anybody.

“The league is divided into two now. As long as we have a group of seven or eight teams fighting for the top four, the rest are basically fighting to stay in the league, and as long as the positions are not settled, every game will be a cup tie.”

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Aguero on song and other key talking points ahead of Liverpool vs Man City

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Pep Guardiola hasn't won at Anfield as Man City manager.

Perhaps the biggest threat left to Manchester City‘s hopes of an unbeaten season will come on Sunday as they travel to Anfield to take on Liverpool.

Here are five talking points leading into the game.

CAN LIVERPOOL END CITY’S UNBEATEN RUN?

Pep Guardiola‘s City have not lost domestically all season and were last beaten in the Premier League on April 5, a run of 30 games.

Liverpool’s recent form suggests they have a better chance than most sides of late of ending that sequence.

With their much-vaunted attack and high-pressing game, the Reds are unlikely to sit back and that could make for a compelling encounter.

Liverpool may be warned, however. The last team to really try to get after City was Tottenham on December 16, and they were swatted aside 4-1.

Liverpool also fared badly last time the sides met – losing 5-0 at the Etihad Stadium in September – but City have not won at Anfield since 2003.

City could punish Liverpool if the home side are too eager in attack.

STERLING’S ANFIELD RETURN

Since leaving Liverpool in 2015, Raheem Sterling has enjoyed little good fortune against his old club.

He was booed and substituted at half-time on a quiet first return to Anfield in March 2016 while he was also ineffective in that year’s League Cup final.

This time the 23-year-old will hope things will be different as he goes back to his old stomping ground in the best form of his career.

With just over half of the season gone, Sterling already has 18 goals to his name this term – seven more than his previous best return.

The Anfield boo-boys will be out in full force for Sterling.

AGUERO ON SONG

Sergio Aguero appears to be coming back into form at an important time for City with Gabriel Jesus out injured.

Perhaps he is being spurred on by persistent speculation linking the club with Arsenal‘s Alexis Sanchez.

The Argentinian, who was being criticised as recently as Christmas for lacking sharpness, has scored four in his last three games and now has 19 for a season in which he became City’s record goalscorer.

He has scored six times in 14 games against Liverpool.

Aguero loves playing against Liverpool.

VAN DIJK LEAGUE DEBUT

Liverpool’s £75million man Virgil van Dijk is poised to make his Premier League debut for the Reds.

His impact has already been impressive, with a debut winner against Everton in the FA Cup.

The Dutchman brings leadership, composure and greater defensive ability to to side badly short in those areas. Liverpool look stronger for his arrival.

Van Dijk has already made his mark in Liverpool colours.

COUTINHO GONE

The game will be Liverpool’s first since the £142million sale of star playmaker Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona.

His departure will leave a hole but Jurgen Klopp is not short of other attacking options with Adam Lallana now fit again and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain looking to step up.

The game will offer clues as to whether the Merseysiders can move on seamlessly.

How much will Liverpool miss Coutinho?

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