Alexandre Lacazette believes an FA Cup final triumph over Chelsea would save Arsenal’s season.
Arsenal finished their latest Premier League campaign down in eighth, which marked the club’s worst top-flight showing in 25 years.
Unai Emery was sacked in November after overseeing a seven-match winless run, and the Gunners turned to former club captain Mikel Arteta to steady the ship.
The Spaniard has since managed to lift the gloomy mood surrounding Emirates Stadium, with two recent victories over Liverpool and Manchester City serving as solid proof of the team’s progress.
Arsenal handed Jurgen Klopp’s champions only their third defeat of the season before knocking City out of the FA Cup with a 2-0 victory at Wembley, thanks to a stunning Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang double.
Arteta will take his squad to the same venue for the showpiece event on Saturday, where they will come up against Frank Lampard’s Chelsea.
The Gunners can still qualify for the Europa League if they win the competition for a record-extending 14th time, and Lacazette is desperate to deliver silverware to a success-starved fanbase after a turbulent 12 months.
‘We are excited because we know we can save our season with a trophy, which would mean a lot for us and the fans,’ the 29-year-old told reporters ahead of this weekend’s final.
‘In the league, we finished in a bad position, we lost against Olympiacos early in the Europa League, so we missed a few of our targets. That’s why I say it would save our season.’
Lacazette added on European football being crucial for Arsenal to attract new players in the summer transfer window: ‘I came to Arsenal to win trophies. Yes, it’s been really frustrating, but this is part of football.
‘Nothing is ever easy and this is why I love this sport because you can learn from this and become a great man with these kinds of experiences.
‘But obviously, at the end, you are a bit disappointed. So you just go forward to the next season to change this and to reach your targets. So, obviously this time it’s a really big game for me and for Arsenal.
‘We know Arsenal is the team that has won this cup the most, so even if the fans are not in the stadium we know they will be following us all over the world.
‘European football is really important. It’s going to bring money to the club for the future. Players who have a lot of ambitions want to play in Europe and I think it will be easier to sign new players and to keep all the players in the group with the Europa League.’
The Arsenal frontman went on to discuss the ongoing speculation surrounding Aubameyang’s future at the Emirates, insisting the club should do everything possible to tie him down to fresh terms beyond 2021.
‘I think it is obvious we need to keep him. He has scored 44 goals in the league in the past two seasons,’ said Lacazette. ‘He is our captain and everybody likes him. He has love from the fans.
‘I think it is obvious Arsenal should keep him but after this, it’s a conversation between him and the club and we are not involved in it.’
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