Alexandre Lacazette says last season’s Europa League final defeat to Chelsea is the perfect motivation for Saturday’s FA Cup final, after ‘the most difficult season’ of the Frenchman’s career.
The Gunners were comfortably beaten 4-1 by the Blues in Baku last May, as former striker Olivier Giroud painfully opened the scoring, before Pedro and Eden Hazard, twice, scored.
Having missed out on Champions League qualification through the Premier League, the loss left Arsenal without a seat at Europe’s top table this season and Lacazette admits that it really hurt.
The forward says the trip back from Azerbaijan was as bad a journey as he can remember, but any player that was involved that day should use it to spur them on against Chelsea at Wembley,
‘Nobody was really talking. It was a long flight, really silent,’ he said of the trop back from Baku. ‘Maybe the worst flight I have ever had. But when you lose a final it is really hard to talk with someone or laugh.
‘Hopefully the ones who played will not forget the final last season. Everybody has to find their own motivation for this game.’
It was a fairly different Arsenal team over a year ago to the one that will take on the Blues on Saturday, although the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Granit Xhaka, Sead Kolasinac and Sokratis Papastathopoulous will likely be starters in both games.
It has been a chaotic time for Arsenal since that loss in Baku, with Mikel Arteta replacing Unai Emery as manager in December, and Lacazette admits that he has struggled over the last year, scoring just 12 goals in all competitions this season, his worst return since 2012/13.
‘It was a difficult season, maybe the most difficult of my career,’ said the 29-year-old. ‘When we talk about statistics it is not the best one. But it’s still only one season and I know next season is going to be totally different.’