Alexandre Lacazette: "I'll be in front of my TV watching the derby and supporting OL"
Alex, how's your new life in England going with Arsenal?
It's been a very beautiful adventure... Football is really different here compared to France: it's more physical, it's faster. I left Lyon to experience something new and with Arsenal I have that. But don't worry, I'm still the same person. I still love to mess around, except that now I can do it in English...
What are your expectations for your second season in the Premier League?
The club wants to return to the Champions League. Coach Unai Emery has set a goal of a top-four finish for us. We'd also like to lift a cup at the end of the season.
And your personal goals?
I'm not the type to set a specific number of goals (note: Alex already has six goals and four assists this season). More than anything, I want to score goals to help the team reach their objectives. I also have the French team in mind. I was called up by Didier Deschamps for the last two games of the year against the Netherlands and Uruguay but unfortunately an injury forced me to withdraw. I really hope to be back with Les Bleus one day. I am always available.
How's your relationship with OL since moving to England?
I'll always stay close to the club. I still have many friends in the squad and the staff. I grew up here and Lyon will remain my city!
The OL-ASSE derby still creates the same sensations for you?
Of course, it's a game that I don't want to miss. Last season, I enjoyed the 5-0 win at the Geoffroy-Guichard, but I missed the return leg at Groupama Stadium (1-1) because I was playing at the same time. This Friday, I will be in front of my TV supporting OL. I grew up with this rivalry. It was a part of my childhood and all my years at the club.
You also have incredible memories playing in the derby…
I remember my goal and our last-second victory at the Geoffroy-Guichard in November 2013. I can still see Gourcuff's cross and Briand's game-winning header. But if there was a derby to remember, no doubt it would be the last one at the Stade de Gerland. This match (November 2015) will remain forever etched in my memory. We won 3-0 and I had the chance to score all three goals. That's something that doesn't happen every day! The atmosphere in the stands was fantastic and we had a real team of friends. My only regret is to have missed the first derby at Groupama Stadium because of injury.
Can we compare our derby to the Arsenal-Tottenham rivalry?
It's exactly the same thing. The rivalry is equally strong between both sides. This is the first match that we tick when the calendar is announced and it's the only must-win match of the season.
What's your view on both clubs that will face off at Groupama Stadium ?
This season, we are able... (he corrects himself) OL were able... to play great matches against Manchester City as well as having some forgettable performances. This is probably due to the lack of experience of the team. We know that at the highest level, the smallest details can influence the final result. In order to win, OL will have to be at their best because Saint-Etienne are pretty strong: they have made smart signings by bringing in high-quality, experienced players... The derby will also be a great rehearsal ahead of the Champions League match against Manchester City. I can tell you that they will seek revenge after the result in the first leg (1-2). But with OL everything is possible, especially at Groupama Stadium.
I see a 2-0 win for OL. The goal scorers? Houssem (Aouar) and Nabil (Fekir) ... and I also predict an assist from Memphis. "