London (AFP) – Jack Wilshere believes Arsenal have generated some much-needed momentum for their Europa League tie against CSKA Moscow after victory over Stoke took the Gunners’ winning streak to four games.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored twice on Sunday before passing up the chance of a Premier League hat-trick by allowing substitute Alexandre Lacazette to mark his return from injury with a goal from the penalty spot as Arsenal sealed a 3-0 victory at the Emirates Stadium.
England midfielder Wilshere captained Arsenal to a fourth successive win in all competitions that set Arsene Wenger’s men up for their crunch first-leg clash against CSKA in London on Thursday.
“We needed that 90 minutes out of the way,” he added. “We needed to get the three points, move on and keep the momentum going. We’ve won a few in a row and wanted to keep that going. Now we’ve got a big one on Thursday and we’re ready for that.”
Arsenal scored all their goals in the last 15 minutes.
“Sometimes it’s like that after an international break, it takes 45 minutes to blow the cobwebs off,” Wilshere said. “I think in the second half we tried to up it and as the game went on, they got tired, we upped it and our attacking play was too much for them.”
With the Gunners 13 points off the top-four Premier League finish that would see them into the Champions League, the only realistic way they can return to Europe’s elite club competition is by winning the second-string Europa League.
“It’s a big game,” said Wilshere looking ahead to CSKA.