A rejuvenated Alexandre Lacazette fired a second-half brace to fire Arsenal to a 4-1 win over crosstown rivals West Ham United in their Premier League fixture at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday as they warmed up for their impending UEFA Europa League semi-final in style.
The first game after Arsene Wenger’s shock announcement had the Gunners fired up, but it took until the 51st minute for them to find the opening.
True to his word, Wenger sent out a side that will probably be the one lining up against Atletico Madrid on Thursday, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang warming the bench in favour of Lacazette.
It wasn’t the French forward who broke the deadlock, however, for it was fullback Nacho Monreal who found the back of the net fairly early in the second-half.
In-form midfielder Marko Arnautovic equalised for the visitors soon after and it looked as if the Gunners would be dropping points at home again but Aaron Ramsey came up with a goal eight minutes from time.
The relegation-threatened Hammers never truly recovered from the Welshman’s blow and would succumb to two late goals from Lacazette, with Aubameyang’s introduction proving to the catalyst as the Gunners sought to give their long-serving manager a befitting farewell as the season comes to a close.
With the win, the North Londoners are within six points of fifth-placed Chelsea with four games left in the current campaign but their attention will now be firmly fixed on Europe as their date with the Rojiblancos looms large on the horizon.
For David Moyes’ men, there is hope still despite their morale-deflating loss at the Emirates for they remain six points above the drop zone and are unlikely to get relegated now.