Saturday 23 March 2019

Lacazette targets Europa glory

Firing: Alexandre Lacazette
Firing: Alexandre Lacazette

Alexandre Lacazette is ready to show Arsenal supporters what they have been missing as he dreams of lifting the Europa League in his former home of Lyon.

The 26-year-old striker scored a brace in Arsenal's comfortable 4-1 quarter-final first-leg win over CSKA Moscow on Thursday night.

With Aaron Ramsey also weighing in with a couple of goals, the Gunners seem on course to secure a last-four spot when they travel to Russia for the return leg next week.

Lacazette was making his first start since January following minor surgery on a niggling knee problem which, on the eve of the CSKA clash, manager Arsene Wenger conceded had played a part in the forward's slow start to life in England.

Signed for a then-club record fee last summer, Lacazette hit nine goals in 29 appearances before going under the knife in February.

He has already struck three times since returning off the bench in the Premier League win over Stoke last weekend and is now setting his sights on showing his best form for Arsenal.

Asked if fans had seen the best of him, Lacazette replied: "Not yet, because I know I can do more.

"I need more time because it is really different than with Lyon. The surgery is in my past so now I can play 100 per cent and I am happy.

"A few times before the surgery I felt pain and after I decided with the medical staff it was the best solution and now I don't regret it.

"It is really frustrating because I love football and I want to play, my team-mates and the coach believes in me and when you are not as good as you want to be it is difficult."

With Arsenal 13 points adrift of the Premier League top-four facing into tomorrow's clash at home to Southampton, winning the Europa League now presents the only realistic possibility of the club securing a return to the Champions League.

It would also hold extra significance for Lacazette, with the final taking place at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais on May 16.

"Yes, that is why I want to go to the final and win," he added.

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