Lacazette inspired to end the scoring drought with the return of the Arsenal fans

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Alexandre Lacazette claimed that the return of Arsenal fans helped him end his recent struggles in front of goal on Thursday.

The French forward had gone eight games without scoring for the Gunners before his spectacular goal from long range in a 4-1 win over Rapid Vienna in Group B of the Europa League.

The match was the first European match in England to have fans on the pitch since March, with 2,000 present at the Emirates Stadium.

And Lacazette, 29, felt that the support he received during the game helped him score his first goal since late September, when he scored in a 3-1 loss to Liverpool.

He told BT Sport: “It was amazing. We were very happy to see the fans today, and it really helped us during the game.

“Even in bad times they pushed us to play well. Obviously we played well, it was good football.

“It was really good, really nice when the fans supported us. It wasn’t easy for me these last few weeks, but seeing the fans behind me, I really enjoyed it, so thanks to them. “

Lacazette became the eighth player to score 20 goals in the Europa League since 2009-10 with his first goal, which was only the third from outside the box in the competition.

Pablo Mari headed in the second from a corner for Arsenal before Eddie Nketiah finished off an elegant team goal one minute before half-time.

Arsenal, who had already qualified for the last 32 matches of the competition and will go through as the Group B winner, added a fourth through Emile Smith Rowe to quell any hope of a comeback.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles said the presence of Arsenal’s “twelfth man” helped build a wellness factor throughout the game.

“We have waited a long time. It’s a great feeling to have them back, ”Maitland-Niles said.

“It was only a few thousand tonight, but we hope more will come eventually. It’s great to get that sound back and have our twelfth man back.

“We said before the game that we would have fun and enjoy the game, enjoy the moment and feel good about it, we did it and we executed it brilliantly.”

On the return of his fans, Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta added: “We are delighted to have the fans back, they make a big difference.

“We had 2,000 but they were loud and supportive of the team so thanks for coming out and putting in the effort.”

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