Alexandre Lacazette

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Lacazette’s desire epitomizes resilient Arsenal

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Arsenal are back in the hunt for UEFA Champions League qualification as the Gunners ground out a 1-0 win against West Ham on Saturday.

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Mikel Arteta’s men have lost just once in 10 Premier League games since he took charge and although they crashed out of the Europa League last week, they are through to the quarterfinals of the FA Cup and have a newfound grit, determination and a little bit more savvy about their play.

Teenagers are keeping established stars out of the team and there’s a new hunger about their play.

They’ve improved defensively and the game-winner on Saturday, Alexandre Lacazette, has scored three times in his last four games despite losing his starting spot.

Youngster Eddie Nketiah has started up top in recent weeks but the Frenchman is hungry to fight for his place and that attitude sums up this Arsenal squad right now.

“I’m happy to score for the team. We worked hard. It was a difficult game. I’m happy. They deserved more because of the chances they created. This is football, sometimes you don’t get what you deserve. It is my job to give the manager a big headache. I’m struggling to make the first team but I’m happy to score again today. I know that now I have to play well again the next game. Everyone wants to give their best and it’s normal that whenever we do that we will perform as a team,” Lacazette told the media afterwards.

Arsenal are five points off fourth place and have a game in hand, albeit at Man City on Wednesday, and with fifth place potentially becoming a Champions League spot this season it is a really interesting point in their campaign.

Despite their obvious defensive flaws Arsenal are keeping clean sheets and although West Ham coughed up plenty of chances on Saturday, Bernd Leno again made plenty of fine stops, while Dani Ceballos is running the show in midfield.

This Arsenal team have been written off by everyone this season and are somehow still in the hunt for the UCL. That makes me think there’s something more about them under Arteta than meets the eye. The Gunners are now a banged up and resilient bunch playing like underdogs instead of the top dogs, and how often have we able to say that over the last decade?

Despite their tough remaining schedule, beware of the Gunners down the stretcH.

Arsenal snatch victory against West Ham

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Arsenal beat West Ham United 1-0 in the Premier League on Saturday as Mikel Arteta‘s side rode their luck but kept their unlucky push for Champions League qualification alive.

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A late goal from substitute Alexandre Lacazette, which was awarded via VAR after it was initially ruled out for offside, was the difference as West Ham’s Michail Antonio was guilty of missing several glorious opportunities.

The Gunners are in ninth place on 40 points and are five points off the top four. West Ham remain in 16th place on 27 points.


3 things we learned

1. West Ham unlucky: The Hammers came up against an in-form Arsenal goalkeeper and missed plenty of good chances throughout. David Moyes‘ side played well and were solid enough defensively but they couldn’t take their chances.

2. Arsenal have Leno to thank: The German goalkeeper has had a very good season for the Gunners with a few errors here and there more than canceled out by consistently decent displays. Leno denied Antonio and Haller on multiple occasions and has been a big part of their newfound defensive solidity.

3. Lacazette continues to fire: He’s now scored three goals in his last four games and Lacazette has found his mojo. With Eddie Nketiah doing well in recent weeks, Lacazette has had to be patient and he keeps giving Arsenal a cutting edge off the bench when they need it most. He may not be around next season but right now Lacazette is doing his best to make sure the Gunners stay in the top four (or five) battle.

Man of the Match: Bernd Leno – Several fine stops and a calming influence on his defensive unit. Jarrod Bowen also played very well for West Ham.


The Hammers squandered a glorious chance to take the lead early on as Michail Antonio raced clear and tried to set up Sebastien Haller but got it all wrong as he two v. one situation didn’t work out.

Moments later Arsenal almost went level as Mesut Ozil‘s shot was blocked superbly by Aaron Cresswell. Haller then had a great chance after being played in by Mark Noble but his first touch let him down and the chance came and went.

Arsenal then went closer to taking the lead as Sokratis hit the bar with a header from Aubameyang’s cross as the end-to-end nature of the game continued.

Antonio then missed a glorious chance from inside the six yard box as he somehow flicked wide.

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At the start of the second half the game continued to be open as Eddie Nketiah was played in by Bukayo Saka but his shot was blocked. Then Antonio had another great chance but his header was saved by Bernd Leno as the West Ham forward should have scored.

Arsenal struggled to take the game to West Ham late on as the Hammers launched several dangerous counter attacks through Jarrod Bowen and Antonio.

But then Arsenal snatched all three points as a deflected shot found Ozil who nodded the ball onto Lacazette to finish and although the offside flag was raised, VAR was used and Ozil was clearly onside and the ruling was overturned.

West Ham still had time to squander a few more chances as Haller went close and so too

Arteta ‘hurt’ by Arsenal’s Europa League exit

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Mikel Arteta wasn’t shy about his feelings towards Arsenal’s Europa League elimination.

“It hurts, big time,” Arteta said after the match. “We had a lot of hope in this competition. It was a great way for us to be able to go to Europe and it is a very beautiful competition to try to win.”

For much of the second leg against Olympiakos, Arsenal was flat. The Gunners conceded a goal shortly after halftime, and with the aggregate score 1-1 through 180 minutes, the game went to extra-time. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang appeared to have struck the winner for Arsenal in the 113th minute, only for Olympiakos to level the score back up in the 119th minute and go ahead on away goals.

[ ROUNDUP: Early Europa League kicks | Late kicks ]

“I think we did a lot of positive things in the game,” Arteta said. “I think we created enough chances to win, but if you concede two set-pieces again in a tie like this you put yourself in big trouble.”

The Gunners, in truth, did not create much, at least not through regulation. It may have been enough to expect victory, but it was not enough for a team with an attacking mentality. Arsenal racked up 2.19 expected goals through the match, but their two best chances came late with Aubameyang’s last-gasp miss and Alexandre Lacazette failing to strike with a 77th minute diving header.

“This is football and sometimes it is very cruel when the emotions are right here [raises hand high],” Arteta said in the press conference, “then in another moment they’re somewhere else [lowers hand]. You have to able to handle that if you want to be in this industry so now it’s up to us, and up to me, to bring this place back in and move forward.”

The Gunners are still in the FA Cup, with a fifth round match against Portsmouth on Monday. They sit ninth in the Premier League table, four points back of Manchester United in fifth.

Report: Arsenal to let Lacazette leave for a Champions League club

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Arsenal and Alexandre Lacazette have an agreement in place for the 28-year-old forward to leave north London if the club fails to qualify for next season’s UEFA Champions League, according to reports out of the UK.

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With only two years remaining on his current contract, this summer is an ideal time for all parties to part ways in the event that Arsenal finds itself out of Europe’s premier competition for a fourth straight season.

Lacazette will turn 29 not long before the summer transfer window opens, representing the Gunners’ last opportunity to re-sell a player who previously cost them close $70 million in the summer of 2017. As for Lacazette himself, he believes that a player of his caliber should be in the Champions League every season and he is apparently more than happy to leave Arsenal to fulfill his destiny.

[ MORE: Bayern Munich puts Chelsea in three-goal hole ]

Despite being named Arsenal’s Player of the Season (13 goals in the Premier League, 19 in all competitions) less than a year ago, Lacazette has endured a thoroughly disappointing 2019-20 campaign and was recently dropped by manager Mikel Arteta, who preferred 20-year-old academy product Eddie Nketiah over the former club-record signing.

Lacazette has scored just six PL goals this season and has just one in his last nine league outings.

Lacazette gives Arsenal first leg in Greece

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Alexandre Lacazette scored the lone goal as Arsenal beat hosts Olympiacos 1-0 in the first leg of a Europa League Round of 32 tie on Thursday.

The second leg is Feb. 27 at the Emirates Stadium, four days after the Gunners host Carlo Ancelotti and Everton in Premier League play.

Lacazette now has eight goals in 24 appearances for Arsenal this season.

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Lacazette missed a big early chance from close range, Gabriel Martinelli deprived of a near-certain assist.

Fortunately for Lacazette, he got a second bite at the apple and smashed it home with a vengeance. Bukayo Saka continued his impressive debut season by assisting the goal.

It was an even match, as Olympiacos continued its habit of steady defense but was unable to produce any attack. The Greeks weren’t credited with the creation of any big chances.

Bernd Leno made three saves and was very good in distribution on the day, with Saka, David Luiz, Shkrodan Mustafi, and Sokratis Papastathopoulus continuing steady defense under Mikel Arteta.