Alex Lacazette says winning the Europa League will save Arsenal’s season and keep Arsene Wenger in a job.
Despite a disappointing season on the domestic front, hopes of securing a place in next season’s Champions League remain alive courtesy of their run in Europe. First, they’ll have to beat Atletico Madrid, a team Lacazette came very close to joining, in the semi-finals with Lazio Marseille and Salzburg making up the other half of the draw.
As if the prospect of silverware in his first season wasn’t enough, the France international says he’s extra motivated by the prospect of picking up the trophy on familiar territory; former club Lyon is hosting the final.
After Thursday’s 2-2 draw against CSKA Moscow, a result that saw the Gunners through 6-3 on aggregate, Lacazette said: “It can be the way to keep the manager because he did so much good for the club.
“It will save our season because in the Premier League we are not doing well.”
He went on: “I really want to be in the final to play in front of my family and friends but it’s not only that – I came to Arsenal because I want to win trophies.”
Petr Cech sounds similarly motivated to win the Europa League. The veteran keeper won the competition in 2013 with Chelsea and thinks a club of Arsenal’s stature should be picking up silverware regularly.
“There is a big responsibility for everyone because we know with the position we are in the league,” Cech told reporters in Moscow.
“Someone would have to have a big meltdown in the last seven games to give us a chance to sneak into the top four.
“We know this is our chance to book our Champions League spot but, not only that, you play a European competition for a cup and for a cup the club has never won. This is another opportunity to add a great trophy to the cabinet.
“You need to keep the progression. You keep that not only on the pitch but by winning things. A club of Arsenal’s size and history belongs in the Champions League.”