October 7, 2022

Arsenal’s Lucas Perez must be given time to settle – Arsene Wenger

September 12, 2016

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has urged fans not to judge new striker Lucas Perez too quickly as the Spaniard adjusts to his new surroundings.

Perez was thrown straight into the starting line-up for Saturday’s home game against Southampton and helped set up the Gunners’ equaliser in a 2-1 win. However, he struggled to get involved in Arsenal’s attack for much of the game before being taken off after an hour, and Wenger acknowledged the newcomer from Deportivo La Coruna had been nervous.

“Let’s give [Lucas] time,” Wenger told Arsenal’s official website. “We have scored goals since the start of the season, but we bought one more striker because we thought we needed one more. Let’s give him time and not judge him too quickly.”

Wenger could restore Olivier Giroud as the lone striker against Paris Saint-Germain in their Champions League opener on Tuesday after resting the France international following the international break, but said he still expects Perez to contribute goals for the Gunners this season.

“I hope so,” Wenger said. “I think he got 17 goals last year. In the second half, I think he combined much better. It is not easy as well to start at home, the pressure is there for everybody and everybody has their eyes on them.”

Fellow newcomer Shkodran Mustafi also started against Southampton, but it was his centre-back partner Laurent Koscielny who stole the spotlight after marking his 31st birthday by scoring with a spectacular overhead kick to draw the Gunners level in the first half.

Koscielny is a doubt for the PSG match after suffering a hit to the face on Saturday, and his absence would be a big blow for Arsenal. The Frenchman has been serving as the stand-in captain in place of the injured Per Mertesacker, and has arguably been the team’s best player after returning late following his Euro 2016 campaign.

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