Arsenal: Cech, Mustafi, Sokratis, Koscielny, Maitland-Niles, Xhaka, Guendouzi, Kolasinac, Ozil, Aubameyang, Lacazette

Subs: Leno, Elneny, Mkhitaryan, Torreira, Iwobi, Monreal, Nketiah

Arsenal came from behind to put themselves into a strong position for the second leg with as 3-1 win over Valencia at the Emirates this evening.

Unai Emery recalled Mesut Ozil to the starting line-up, going with a back three, but despite lots of early Arsenal possession the visitors had the first real chances of the game. Sokratis conceded a free kick, Valencia worked it over the top to the back post, and when the ball was put back into the middle by Rodrigo, Garay somehow put the ball over the bar in the 8th minute.

Three minutes later and the visitors were ahead after a corner. The ball was floated to the back post, it was headed back across, Diakhaby headed home from close range. 0-1.

Cech was forced into action shortly afterwards, saving a shot from distance, and when Maitland-Niles tried to head it back to the keeper Guedes almost doubled the lead but put the ball over the bar.

The crowd tried to rouse the team, and it paid off with an 18th minute equaliser. Ozil gave it to Lacazette, he played in Aubameyang who drove into the box, cut back inside, the keeper had narrowed the angle so he laid the ball off to Lacazette who had continued his run to slot home with his left foot. 1-1.

It got better seven minutes later when we went ahead. Arsenal worked the ball back and forward on the left touchline, Xhaka crossed it, Lacazette headed it down and although the keeper palmed it away the ball had crossed the line. 2-1.

The Frenchman was in the mood, heading wide at the near post from a Xhaka corner, and a foul on him brought a yellow card for Diakhaby just after the half hour mark. Aubameyang shot into the ground and over the bar after Xhaka found him with a good ball into the Valencia box, Parejo shot over after Mustafi had conceded a free kick 30 yards from goal, and Sokratis had an overhead effort from distance easily saved.

The rest of the half played out without too much more incident, and the Gunners took the one goal lead into the break.

Mustafi had to clear early in the second period after Sokratis had been exposed, and Koscielny’s brave header prevented Guedes from testing Cech. Emery made his first change in the 58th minute, sending on Lucas Torreira for Guendouzi, but with another goal useful in the overall scheme of things, there wasn’t a lot happening from an attacking point of view.

That was until Aubameyang went down the left and delivered a brilliant cross for Lacazette, but the striker took the equivalent of a fresh air shot – but with his head – just yards from goal. The Frenchman then had another sight of goal a couple of minutes later after a Kolasinac shot from distance rebounded through to him, he was 6 yards out, the keeper saved with his feet though.

Valencia then made two changes, sending on Wass and Gameiro for Guedes and Soler in the 70th minute, and Petr Cech had to make a good save from the striker to keep us ahead when he got in behind Koscielny who looked exhausted and in pain from his ongoing tendonitis.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan came on to replace Ozil with 15 minutes to go, Monreal replaced the struggling captain in the 82nd minute, and the game entered a weird phase where Valencia didn’t want to concede another and Arsenal worried about letting in a second away goal.

However, it was another for the Arsenal as the game went into injury time. Mkhitaryan drove towards goal, took a shot, it deflected to Laca who took a shot which deflected, the keeper saved it, the ball stayed alive and for once Kolasinac provided a good ball to the back post where Aubameyang put it away to add some gloss to the scoreline. 3-1.

The late goal puts us in a good position going into next week’s second leg, and it was nice to bounce back from what has been a difficult week.

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Adam
Adam

Two questions Folks. 1. Are we happy with the result (I recon – FUCK YEAHHH!)? 2. Have we concluded on our player of the year tonight?

Griffbox
Griffbox

Yes. Yes.

Hantal
Hantal

Definitely, Mkhitaryan has been in legendary form this year

Red-Sky
Red-Sky

MLS next season??

DB10s Air Miles
DB10s Air Miles

I’m assuming that’s sarcasm?

I AM ARSENAL
I AM ARSENAL

Elneny for Sure

VAR will solve the problem
VAR will solve the problem

Lacazette….you brooding genius!🥰

Red-Sky
Red-Sky

He missed some sitters intentionally so that the world won’t recognize his genus and leave him be.

Hantal
Hantal

He loves arsenal so much he doesn’t want other clubs coming in for him

Chickenshite

Wouldn’t sell Laca for 200 million

Ealing
Ealing

I would sell for 199 million

Crash Fistfight
Crash Fistfight

You’re mental, then.

Crash Fistfight
Crash Fistfight

Not that I’m saying I don’t rate Laca, by the way, just that £200m for anyone in our squad could go a long way to making us better.

Kostas
Kostas

Kroenke would

Dave M
Dave M

I recognise his genus as homini like most of us humans, the chimps and bonobos… It’s a pretty fair genus all things accounted for.

Red-Sky
Red-Sky

lol

GunneRon

In a big match, on a big stage and with the team devoid of form and confidence, who steps up ? Our big match player himself, Alexander Lacazette ! What a player ! As long as he and Auba are on the team, we’ve always got a chance.

Also, a big shout out to Cech, who produced one last big save on what was surely his last match for us at the Emirates. Thank you Petr Cech, what a consummate pro and loyal servant you’ve been.
Hopefully, you’ll help us win one more trophy against your old club before you retire.

After all the highs and lows, the ups and downs, this season might yet end up a memorable and successful one for us. COYG !

shaka
shaka

People forget that Leno tops the PL in “number of errors leading to a goal”

Kostas
Kostas

I am afraid to be happy

mesutsanchez
mesutsanchez

COYG!! Happy for my nails too for the away leg 🙂

Jack
Jack

Auba should be proud of that performance tonight. He gave it his all for the whole 90 mins attacking and defensively, so happy he got a goal to top it off

Hantal
Hantal

I’ve been pretty critical of his workrate recently but he really ran tonight. Tracked back too

Mesut O'Neill
Mesut O'Neill

Rightly so. Tonight was the real Aubameyang!!

Peter Story Teller
Peter Story Teller

Perhaps he can breathe now he has had a nose job!

Chickenshite

His workrate tonight was excellent. Ran himself to into the ground. Probably my MOTM, Laca would be close second

Crash Fistfight
Crash Fistfight

I agree. Both were awesome tonight (the Laca misses in the 2nd half aside).

Futsboller
Futsboller

Absolutely massive credit to the front three for their work tonight.

Deano

Priceless goal at the end, only big worry is whether or not Kos is going to be available next week.

SB Still
SB Still

Absolutely 2-1 was annoying especially given that we were so close to scoring the 3rd so many times.

David C
David C

Should we put all our eggs in the Europa basket and rotate heavily for the PL game on the weekend?

shaka
shaka

thats what we have been doing. We rested Ozil and Auba in the league match to leceister.

Hantal
Hantal

3-1 looks to be a good result but we’re so shaky at the back and I’m very worried about Koscielny

Hantal
Hantal

Still, they need to push for goals so we can exploit that.
Dare I say it that Ozil could be key away from home

Billy Bob
Billy Bob

What a relief

Red-Sky
Red-Sky

Good things happen when you cross the ball into dangerous areas. Let’s cross more, no need for a gazillion short passes in every effffing play.

I AM ARSENAL
I AM ARSENAL

And shoot. Last goal result of two off target strikes causing chaos

eternalflamini
eternalflamini

That was clearly the instruction. Some of xhaka crosses were ace. Loved that where Ozil drew the defender away to leave auba free.

Tony Adams Nose
Tony Adams Nose

Yeah the little triangles was driving me nuts. Very good result as I would not be comfortable taking a two one lead to their place.
Auba and Lacca were very good tonight they both gave everything. Kolasinac was awful right up until he finally found a cross that reach one of our players and, yep 3-1. He and Kozzy were far too forward for comfort most of the game and both lost possession with misplace passes. Our left side was very vulnerable.
Valencia were no better or worse than Wolves or Leicester so it makes me wonder, is this the only competition our players can get up for?

I AM ARSENAL
I AM ARSENAL

The Spanish and the italian teams lack the pace power and intensity that even the lower positioned teams over here have. Today Valencia looked technically better than us with the ball but physically we were far superior.

Dave
Dave

Laca you thing of beauty!

Fatgooner
Fatgooner

A good night’s work after a very dodgy start.

See? We can play good competitive football! After a rubbish first 10 minutes we woke up and put in a very good display. That late Auba goal could be a clincher.

The only disappointment was Laca not getting a hattrick: he’s one notch below the top PL strikers. We could be home and dry by now if he’d taken those chances.

It’s not over but we’re nearly there.

Tribe
Tribe

I’m glad you’re still here Fats!
Cheers man!

I AM ARSENAL
I AM ARSENAL

Laca is so frustrating because that tendency to miss big chances is stopping him from entering World class conversations.

Cycs
Cycs

What you talking bout? Laca’s world class in my books and I’m sure in Uefa’s too!

Scwibble
Scwibble

Laca doesn’t miss nearly as much as Aubameyamg, if you want a scapegoat there’s lots to go for before Lacs.

He is world class.

Fatgooner
Fatgooner

Auba is a better striker than Laca. That was a top-quality finish at the end. Both the Lacazette misses were pretty terrible: it’s not often you see a PL striker not even make contact with a straightforward header the way Laca did. It least the keeper saved the other chance.

Mc1892
Mc1892

Very narrow sample taken there. Aubameyang has missed some ridiculous ones this season. Personally prefer laca myself, yet totally understand why some would say otherwise, but to say that Auba is superior because he takes more chances is, I think, incorrect.

Cycs
Cycs

Well, he’s a whole lot better than a lot of strikers in the premiership.

facts
facts

Emery masterclass, but it’s clear this squad needs overhauling

Red-Sky
Red-Sky

The overhauling was always the case.

Hantal
Hantal

Aside from waiting too long to take Kos off I’d agree he got it right tonight

Harryshambles
Harryshambles

You just never know what you’re going to get with this team! Great game, just need to not shit the bed in Spain now!

NairoGunner89
NairoGunner89

I hope we get to the final.
It is within reach, the team and us fans needs to offer sacrifices to the god of away games for that 2nd leg tie.

Dave
Dave

I’ll gladly sacrifice my ex

Damo Dinkum
Damo Dinkum

That escalated quickly

Gio Van Bronckhorsts Left Foot
Gio Van Bronckhorsts Left Foot

Perhaps his ex is a goat 🤷🏾‍♂️

I AM ARSENAL
I AM ARSENAL

Auba and Laca were phenomenal despite the latters two bad misses. Only took Kola 90mins to select the right ball. His technique isnt the problem like iwobi his decision making/final ball is erratic to say the least. Games like this make you realize how well Emery is doing with what he has. We can upgrade on Every single player except the front two. Really limited in the middle of the park and outwide. As a massive Mustafi hater i have to say he was very good today especially second half.

Merlin’s Panini
Merlin’s Panini

Good job. Can’t take anything for granted though. That away leg is still tricky but all they need to do is replicate this performance (scoring first though).

Twatsloch
Twatsloch

May I say that Mustafi wasn’t too shabby today.

Ealing
Ealing

We’ve given ourselves a good chance to go through. Massive improvement!!!

BubbaGooner
BubbaGooner

Who knew Kolasinac can pick out a cross?

The_Kolkata_Gooner
The_Kolkata_Gooner

Two of our goals came from crosses…I remember two more crosses almost finding the back of the net. We should cross more. Emery should just isolate Kolasinac and make him practice crossing instead of training with the rest of the team. Make some kids try to block the crosses, so Kola can actually guilt himself out of thinking that if he hits the ball really hard, it will somehow find his own teammate.

Scwibble
Scwibble

I love his low and hard crosses that are cutbacks, unfortunately there’s times he does low cross cut backs when he should cross overhead and vice versa.

Also, watching Kolasinac/Ozil/Laca try pass and play through defenders inside the box is painful.

Red-Sky
Red-Sky

heh. Our player seem content enough to just cross it on the body off the nearest opp player. As if they are trying to just get away from the ball.
I recon it’s partly psychological, partly to do with poor quality.

HansRott
HansRott

Anyone else notice that we might well have had a penalty if Auba didn’t score?

Torreira blatantly brought down. Thank fuck for the certainty of Aubameyang’s goal.

Not over yet, but we’ve a far better chance this time than against Atletico.

Twatsloch
Twatsloch

Valencia looked ragged towards the end of the second half. I guess the infamous PL pace got the better of them.

Mudeez
Mudeez

I’m not 100% sure on all the qualification rules, but If both Chelsea and Arsenal reach the final, while assuming both finish either 4th or 5th wouldnt that assure qualification for next year’s Champions League?

loose_cannon
loose_cannon

Very shaky beginning but settled at the end of the first half and totally dominated the second period. More composed on the ball and more urgent off it, great performance all-round, let’s keep it up in Spain please!

Scwibble
Scwibble

I was so ready to turn off my stream when they scored, by the time I finished swearing we had equalised.

glass half full
glass half full

So, if everything stays as is in the PL and Chelsea finish 4th and we finish 5th. Would an Arsenal-Chelsea Europa League final mean we get Champions League whatever the result?

Ealing
Ealing

No. You need to win it.

Alex
Alex

Dare i say Özil was everywhere tonight? Great game!

Alex
Alex

That third goal was more than gloss, very important and great to see 👌🏻

Richardb
Richardb

Sort of counting my chickens before they are hatched but how to get to Baku. I just checked trains. It’s about 6 days. Planes are blinking pricy and as for hotels.

I could auction a selection of the Arsenal Carrier bags I picked up tonight rather than give hem to the boy for his classmates tomorrow . Cheap but to be fair they made a great spectacle when we all held them up at kickoff .

Azerberbloodyjan . People leave the Emirates early to get to Finsbury Park before he rush. I blame Platini the git.

Matty T.
Matty T.

Harsh on Kolasinac. Yes, he’s been poor of late but “for once” is over the top. If you look through his time at the club he is capable of providing very accurate passes, crosses and assists. Plenty of room for improvement I accept but damning him with faint praise when he produces seems unfair.

Crash Fistfight
Crash Fistfight

His delivery was actually remarked upon as being good, earlier in the season. I’m not sure what’s come over him the last couple of months.

Iceman
Iceman

Great team performance and good result. We shouldn’t be surprised with what we can do at home now as we have been constantly good at home for a while now.

Let’s just hope we can beat Valencia and Burnley in the last away games of this season and kick start a run of better away performances and results next season.

Bring on Brighton!! Auba to make a move for the Golden Boot…. You heard it here first…

COYG!!

Stephen
Stephen

Very happy to see the response. Once the first goal went in my heart sunk – “here we go again” – but the lads responded well. Ultimately they took control of the game and we could’ve had 4 or 5 but still buried enough of them to be proud.

Very happy.

OdalGooner
OdalGooner

I turned off the telly at the first goal. Never done that before. After 2 set pieces of absolutely dismal defending, we were 1-0 down. I just couldn’t stomach it. Even my girlfriend say “come on, give them a chance”, and I heard myself saying “I’m not going to watch, it’ll just be 90 minutes of me getting in a worse and worse mood.

Oh well. 3-1. If that’s what it takes, I’ll turn off the telly 10 minutes into every game! Great to see a fighting comeback (well.. ready about, actually). Well done the lads!