Most Arsenal fans would not describe this season as a successful one. However, there is still a chance that the Gunners may win the Europa League this season, something they are odds of 3/1 to achieve.
Arsene Wenger’s side eventually saw off a stubborn Stoke resistance on Sunday to record a 3-0 win. I would argue that the return from injury of French striker Alexandre Lacazette from the bench played a crucial role.
Endured a mixed Arsenal career so far
Lacazette has endured mixed fortunes at Arsenal this season. The French international joined the north London outfit last summer from Lyon and much was expected of him. He was the top-class striker Arsenal had been lacking for years.
However, the teams struggles this season have not helped the striker settle, neither has the January arrival of the prolific Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
On Sunday afternoon, he returned from injury and he looked lively from the bench as if he had returned with something to prove.
A better option than Welbeck in the Europa League
While Lacazette is considered second choice for the main striker role behind Aubameyang, in the Europa League he is still the first choice, as the Gabon international is ineligible due to play in the competition.
Danny Welbeck filled the lone striker role in the last round against AC Milan. To be fair to the England international he did a decent job and even got on the scoresheet twice in the home leg of the tie.
However, I do believe that the majority of Arsenal fans would favour Lacazette leading the line ahead of Welbeck. The French striker is a far more natural goalscorer, while Welbeck is a trier and has pace he is not a natural goalscorer.
Lacazette does miss chances. However, Welbeck is not at adept at getting into the positions to miss the chances that is the difference.
Could be the key to Arsenal success
Arsenal has some positive momentum heading into the final stretch of the campaign. A top-four finish has looked an unlikely possibility for a good few months.
Gunners boss Wenger showed the importance of this Thursday’s Europa League quarter-final first leg clash with CSKA Moscow by fielding a much-changed team at the weekend.
Lacazette may just have returned from injury, but his return to the Arsenal team may just be the key to the Gunners winning the Europa League and claiming a Champions League place in the process.
Can Alexandre Lacazette’s return to fitness help Arsenal win the Europa League?