Lacazette on fire as Wenger exit lifts Arsenal ahead of Atletico

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The French striker has now scored six goals in April and is in perfect form ahead of Thursday's Europa League tie against Atletico Madrid

Resurgence was the word of the day at Emirates Stadium. Just 48 hours after Arsene Wenger revealed that he will be leaving Arsenal after almost 22 years at the club, his team produced the upbeat, inspired performance everyone expected.

The match against West Ham was labelled by Wenger as “preparation” for Thursday’s crucial Europa League semi-final first leg against Atletico Madrid, and goals from Nacho Monreal, Aaron Ramsey and Alexandre Lacazette (2) eventually secured an emphatic 4-1 win.

The news that Wenger is set to call time on his tenure in north London was met with a mixture of emotions from most fans and pundits. Some have described themselves as being ‘relieved’ that Wenger won’t tarnish a legacy which spans over two decades, while others are unsure of what the future holds after seeing the Frenchman all but run Arsenal football club since his arrival in 1996.

The overwhelming majority, though, agree that now is the right time for Wenger to leave – and his players fought hard for him on a sunny Sunday afternoon in what proved to be the perfect dress rehearsal for next week’s mammoth European clash.

Nacho Monreal has now scored three goals in his last seven Premier League appearances and the Spaniard remains one of Wenger’s most loyal and reliable servants having joined from Malaga in 2013.

A player who has been criticised for not living up to his price tag is Alexandre Lacazette, the £52.5 million signing from Lyon last summer. But six goals in April following his return from a knee injury may now ignite Arsenal’s season.

The absence of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the Europa League due to him being cup tied has placed greater importance on Lacazette and Danny Welbeck. Both forwards need to be firing on all cylinders if Arsenal are to get past Atleti over two legs.

The game will take on an extra special significance for Lacazette, who was set to sign for Atletico Madrid last year instead of Arsenal until the deal collapsed due to the Spanish side's transfer ban.

Eighty per cent of Lacazette’s goals for the Gunners have come at the Emirates and he will be desperate to continue that electric form on Thursday. Indeed, he looks a decent bet to do so as he traditionally finishes seasons very strongly.

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All eyes will now be on the Europa League. The Arsenal squad reacted well on Sunday to the news of Wenger’s departure and they will now be determined to give the perfect parting gift to their long-serving, legendary manager by beating Atletico and going on to win the Europa League.

Nacho Monreal Arsenal

 

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