Result: Valencia 2-4 Arsenal
Competition: Europa League
Date: 9 May 2019
Arsenal: Cech, Maitland-Niles, Sokratis, Koscielny, Monreal, Kolasinac, Xhaka, Torreira, Ozil, Aubameyang, Lacazette.
Subs: Leno, Elneni, Mustafi, Guendouzi, Mkhitaryan, Iwobi, Nketiah
Arsenal will contest their first European final in 13 years after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang grabbed a hat-trick to seal a fantastic 4-2 win in Valencia that sees the Gunners progress 7-3 on aggregate.
Kevin Gameiro put the hosts in front after 11 minutes as Unai Emery’s men wobbled in the opening stages before Aubameyang’s brilliant equaliser calmed our nerves. In a see-saw game, Lacazette put the Gunners in the driving seat with a lovely finish five minutes after the break and Aubameyang made sure of things with a tap in after Gameiro’s second had made things nervy again. The Gabon striker then helped himself to an emphatic third with a minute left.
We’ll play Chelsea in the final in Baku on 29 May after they beat Frankfurt on penalties. We’ve not tasted success on the continent in 25 years. It’s about time we did.
Unai Emery made three changes from the side that drew with Brighton on Sunday, handing Petr Cech an expected start between the sticks and replacing Mustafi and Guendouzi with Monreal and Torreira. Aaron Ramsey, out for the rest of the season with a hamstring injury, was the only absentee from the same 3-5-2 system that we deployed in the 1-0 win against Napoli in the away leg of our quarter-final. Mesut Ozil filled the boots of our absent Welsh Jesus.
Arsenal looked relatively comfortable in possession in the opening five minutes but it was the hosts who had the early chances. Koscielny blocked Gaya’s header from Gameiro’s cross to raise the noise from the home fans and Guedes fizzed over the bar inside the first 10 minutes.
Just as we showed some ambition, Maitland-Niles having had a shot straight at Neto, Valencia hit us with a deadly counter-attack. Taking advantage of our missing right wing-back, the ball was worked down the left by Guedes to Rodrigo who cut the ball to Gameiro at the back post to slide home. With only 12 minutes on the clock, it was exactly what we didn’t want. (1-0)
The goal put us on the back foot and had Gameiro not accidentally blocked Rodrigo’s shot, they’d have doubled their lead inside a couple of minutes. To further shred our nerves, Rodrigo flashed a half volley just wide from distance.
Out of nothing, Aubameyang got us back on level terms. Gabriel had initially tried to head clear a long Cech goal-kick but when Lacazette flicked on the loose ball, the Gabon international sprung into action. He took one touch to control and without any backlift, punched a dipping shot from the edge of the box that flew past Neto on the bounce. His 26th goal of the season and it was a real gem. (1-1)
The goal definitely took the sting out of Valencia. Aiding matters was the unbelievable work rate of Laca and Auba who not only imposed a high press but then looked to burst away on attack when we had the ball.
Both had chances to extend our lead. Ozil teed up Auba who fired straight at Neto and then Lacazette clipped the outside of the post when his strike partner had burst down the right wing and found him with a cutback. The Mestalla for a second went silent.
We didn’t have it all our own way before the break. Parejo’s free-kick from 25-yards sailed just wide of Cech’s right post and Gaya went looking for a penalty when under pressure from Maitland-Niles. Dutch referee Danny Makkelie had no qualms booking the Valencia full-back for a dive. Quite right too.
Could we avoid the kind of nonsense that soured Europe’s other football matches this week? Given our away form this season, it’s not like we could rest on our laurels. Maximum concentration was needed. Another goal would probably be enough. It came inside five minutes.
Aubameyang picked up a loose ball and burst down the right. He lost it, then won it again before Torreira came to give him a hand. The Uruguayan quickly whipped a low pass to Lacazette who was prowling around the edge of the box. The Frenchman seemed to get the ball stuck under his feet but somehow swivelled, made space and then curled the ball in. What a goal from our player of the season. (2-1)
From up in the gods, the travelling Gooners serenaded the Mestalla, “we’re on our way, we’re on our way…we’re going to Baku, we’re on our way.”
Or were we? On 58 minutes, Valencia found a leveller on the night that left them needing three goals with 30 minutes remaining. It was a scrappy affair as Gameiro bundled home a mishit shot from two yards out having defied our offside trap. (2-2)
We needed to weather the storm as the Mestalla found its voice again. Mkhitaryan came on for Ozil who took so long going off that he was booked. As the abuse rained down, the German raised his finger to his mouth as if to say, ‘pipe down, chaps’.
How are your nerves? Garay attempted to Vincent Kompany the ball home from 30-yards but his effort whistled wide. Sokratis and Koscielny made vital interceptions.
Attack was obviously the best form of defence. It so often is with this Arsenal side. So why not score a third? Yes, please.
Again, Lacazette’s hard work started it off. Then it was all down to the brilliance of Ainsley Maitland-Niles who beat his man with quick feet and hammered a low cross for Auba to nick home at the near post. Another beauty of a goal. Out came the front flip. Then he was mobbed. (3-2)
And relax. The home fans started to leave in droves. Emery took that as a signal to send on Matteo Guendouzi for Torreira. At this point, we could afford to sit back and then hit Los Ches on the break when they committed men forward.
Aubameyang sealed things with a final flourish, combining with Mkhitaryan and then smashing high into the net. What a way to cap one of the most impressive individual displays from an Arsenal player in recent years. Seriously. Take a bow. (4-2)
It’s been a horrible couple of weeks for the club. From our capitulation on the domestic front to our neighbours threatening the unspeakable. We need to put all that in a box for a night and just enjoy this for what it is. A great performance. A great result. A great opportunity to end the season on a high.
Well done Arsenal. Well done.
Apart from a couple of hairy moments, thought we controlled that game so well. World class performance from Auba.
One of the worst ball boy displays I’ve seen in a long time.
The lads got over excited following the Spuds match bless ’em.
Great win. However two goals let in again. Arsenal would be a lot better defensively, if they would only find the guy who sneaks into their dressing room before every game and whispers in the ears of the defenders that the ball is actually a bomb and they should stay the fk away from it.
What a show by Abumeyang though, and Lacazette. No zette was lacked today in attack.
Absolutely loved AMN’s assist too! Doing his most casual of jogs towards the ball, looking so chilled, then bam, quick feet, amazing acceleration, perfect whipped low cross. Lovely stuff. Those two up front weren’t bad either..
Did you like his causal jog during Valencia’s first goal, too? He was almost walking back.
That aside, I like him offensively, but as a defender he’s really not there yet (not his fault, either). No wonder every opposition has been targeting him lately.
I agree his assist was great though!
He had just driven all the way down the field… its mainly our midfielders that need to track back in that situation
You need need to analyse the entire move, not just the defensive phase. There was a 50-50 in midfield in the lead-up to that goal which we lost.
We can’t be solid defensively when our midfield puts so much stress on our defenders
I disagree. AMN is playing as a WB, not a FB. So when he pushes forward and has a shot on goal, its not his fault if the CDMs/CBs don’t push a man wide to cover the space. AMN can’t attack and defend that whole stretch alone.
Oh my word what a performance from Aubameyang. That’s an 11/10 if I’ve ever seen one!
He was outstanding tonight. Everything you want from a forward: worked his socks off, made things happen when he ran at them with the ball and was deadly when the chances came to him.
Always have a chance with those two playing
Auba showed Ozil how to play tonight
Auba showed us we don’t need Ramsey.
And you just showed us this club doesn’t need supporters like you.
What game were you watching? Ozil ran like a trooper tonight. And his hold-up play and distribution were pure class – they couldn’t get the ball off him!
I was thinking I was the only one who noticed how good he was.
Ozil has a fine game in midfield. Worked very hard and his link up play was excellent. He had a passing rate of 92% which was the highest of any player.
And big cojones from Maitland-Niles! Absolutely skinned the flesh off his opponent to give Auba that hat-trick goal
Maitland Niles recovered so well from his initial struggles
Where would we be without our two worldclass strikers?
See we can play well away from home
At time of writing this, Frankfurt still looking for a goal to win it at Chelsea. Come on! Get rid of them for us! Go Arsenal go Frankfurt!
They lost on penalties. Damn it. Almost won but kepa saved two pens
We’ll beat Chelsea in the final. I believe our all-eggs-in-one-basket situation will give us that little push over the line; I believe
I was waiting for Sarri to try to sub their keeper in the last minute!
could be a 10/10 performance from Auba tonight
Finally Arsenal played like they have a pair! Now that’s satisfying to watch!
Gabriel acting the fool at the final whistle; sad to see.
He’s a twat and we’re well rid of him. Lost his rag the same way with Costa – who, granted is an utter prick… but if you kick a turd, it just stinks all the more!
That’s nuts. I wish with intense fervor that we had kept him, kept our wallet in our pocket and never looked twice at mustafi.
Our 2 strikers take us to the finals! Yay!!
Didn’t the two of them score all 7 goals in the 2 legs? Great stuff from them.
In the running for the most obvious comment, Aubameyang and Lacazette are amazing! It is scary to think where we would be without them.
Horrifying if the rumours are true that Barcelona are coming to take him away … without much of an attacking system behind them, we need these two, together, to get our goals.
Don’t you believe it
I hope Laca looks at how the Dembele, Malcom and Coutinho’s moves have turned out and decides to stay here, where he is loved and valued. The strike parthership with Auba must also hold some weight and Champions League football will no doubt be another factor too.
Steady on son… like the way you’re thinking but we still need to beat the west london scum first
Our lack of control and movement in midfield is something we really miss and will miss when Ramsey leaves. Hopefully we can up the pace of our attacking play next season. We can’t rely on two players to score all our goals.
I love this result but I just cannot deal with the way our midfielders play. So un-Arsenal-like!
Anyway, 90 more minutes lads. Let’s believe!
I’m not sure how the missus will take it but Aubameyang Lacazette Doherty it is.
Compromise on aubamazette or lacameyang
Or just Lacaubazettayang
You can try Pierre Alexander! ?
Aubalaca Boomboom Doherty surely.
That’s too obvious
Gary Doherty?!?! WTF?!?!
Brilliant stuff. Absolutely delighted. Aubameyang was wonderful.
Wow Auba just wow!!! Time to enjoy the win.
So fucking happy.. thank you arsenal for today ❤️
We’re not a bad cup team. I’ll be happy with a trophy and a champions league place. Hope it’s not Chelsea.
As expected shit at the back but excellent upfront
Great win, but seriously Xhaka, you need to improve.
I thought he was pretty decent tonight
He had a very good match. What did he do to upset you?
Very good is really stretching it. He did (as always) some very good things (I love his aweeping passes from one side of the pitch to the other, amazing technique) but he also did (as he does almost always) some very lazy, stupid Xhaka-like things. If he’s ever going to take the jump to being a top player his concentration levels need to improve dramatically, he just switches off way too often.
Have to agree – 2 great passes and then one horrendous one, which too often ends in a goal down
The summer break will do him real good. Had been playing back to back games for too long with a World Cup in between…
That’s a new experience relaxing with more than 20 minutes to go! Well played chaps!
The UEL is now the Unai Emery League…
World-class finishing made all the difference.
Auba is taking all the plaudits but Laca was great too. They were both ruthless with their chances and made what could have been a difficult night easy. We gifted them two easy goals with poor defending, Monreal at fault for both, but it didn’t matter. A good solid midfield and defence really helped.
We’ve had 4 wins against 2 very good European sides: so how come we couldn’t beat Palace, Everton, Wolves, Brighton and Leicester? I just hope this team turns up for the final.
Really hoping it’s a case of underestimating lesser teams. We’ve done ok against ‘top’ teams this year on the whole.
“We’ve had 4 wins against 2 very good European sides: so how come we couldn’t beat Palace, Everton, Wolves, Brighton and Leicester?”
Now you are asking the right questions!
Add Tottenham, Chelsea, and Liverpool to that list.
This is the question fans are supposed to be asking.
I thought we beat both Tottenham and Chelsea
I like the Fatgooner that doesn’t bang on about managers. 🙂
Glad to see you have regained your sense of humour. No mention of Wenger in weeks.
Emery seems better suited setting up against better sides even away. We should have beat Chelsea Man u and the spuds in the away league games. Add winning in Napoli and tonight.
I’m starting to wonder if it’s complacency rather than bottle that is the problem, though I suspect it’s more nuanced than that.
We’ve gone from a team that couldn’t get fuck all from the bigger sides for the last few years to dropping points in games we should win at a canter in a lot of cases.
This is actually a positive post despite itself, I’m just trying to figure out how they take it up another level if we do get in the CL.
It could be as simple as Emery being naive in his first Premiership season, treating the ‘easy games” like they are, well, easy games. But surely there is enough people at Arsenal to tell him that isn’t how the Premier League works? Other than that it is the players who are just too arrogant to think they need to break a sweat against Brighton. Something one would expect the Manager to fix pronto. It is telling that teams that win the League are able to grind out results against bottom clubs and it is ALWAYS the manager who makes the… Read more »
Naivety perhaps, there have been enough alarming defensive catastrophies that I’m still on the fence with Emery.
People point to Klopp’s first season and weeding out the chaff, but I just don’t think Emery will get the same hand with our tightwad owners.
I’m giving him another year to see if there is a definite shape and style to his strategy. Or strategies.
The lower league teams are a key part though as you are bang on about the way the Premier League works.
I think it’s been the opposite, at least in away games and until very recently. We’ve shown far too much respect–ie, set up too defensively–to mid-level sides away. As if we were Sevilla trying to nick a point at the Bernebau.
There was absolutely no strategy or style of play from us tonight!
It’s been a disaster of a season!
Is it May 2018 again ?
I assume you’re joking or you are a Spurs troll or trying to win the award of the most toxic supporter
Shouldnt you celebrate the fact that you are in the champions league final? Leave this place alone, scum.
Swede, Usmanov was joking dude
We won 4-2 against a team who have beaten Real Madrid and drew against barca and Atletico. Pretty decent strategy if you ask me.
Tell that to the increasing number of Arsenal fans and bloggers who keep on banging on about Emery not having a strategy or style of play… regardless of the fact, he won tactical battles against the likes of Pochetinno and Sarri and even battled Klopp hard one time. He set up his team to play brilliantly in a good number of big games this season. But that is too far in the past to remember now. I bet even tonight’s result is too far in the past to remember for the impatient arsenal fans who all too eager to jump… Read more »
Errmm… was their a game tonight?
Well that whooshed over many a head now didn’t it.
Can we ask them to postpone the final, address our defensive frailties, and then play it?
Can that happen?
I was kind of surprised Auba passed up a chance for the hat trick when driving at the defenders late in the game, although, he was trying to tee up Laca. I am so happy he got another opportunity and buried it. What a performance from him and Laca
Thank God some pleasure from a shit football week. Well done Emery & the lads. Auba you beauty, that was superb.
Well done Abu and Laca. Sometimes wonder whether Abu could do more in the lesser games. Great assist by young AMN for the third. We always look like scoring but also look like conceding. Great night. Let’s go on and win it securing a trophy and Champions League qualification thus providing confidence and time for Unai Emery to rebuild ( which is still desperately required).
Generally, the team was not much better than in the last premier league matches. The big difference was Lacazette and Aubameyang. They were phenomenal.
This is the same team, same manager, same players we have had all season. They have strengths and weaknesses. I believe they almost always try like hell to play well and win games. I believe they always work their butts off for each other and their manager. Today they won, today they earned it. I admire and respect most all of the players. I hope like hell we win the trophy and qualify for champions league. More than that, I hope they play well, work hard and make us proud. I just wish more fans focused on that and whether… Read more »
Is there any chance that they kept it quiet but actually Ramset will b fit for the final. That would be incredible. It must be nearly 6 weeks by then surely. Even from the bench. Pleeeeeeaaaaaaassssseee football gods make this possible.
I guess it’s possible but probably not
Apologies in advance for the semi – profanity, but Jake Humphrey is a massive tosser.
I particularly enjoyed the manner in which John Hartson subtly corrected many of Humphrey’s “analytical” errors.
I’ve loved Hartson the last few weeks- he’s clearly an arsenal fan, even before today’s game he was disagreeing with Keown about our chances
Auba og Laca absolutely world class. Please , please open the wallet and buy players who can support them next season.
Want us to face Eintracht in the final. Just because I don’t like to see Chelsea on the final
It was about time we scored a goal (almost) from a goal kick instead of being on the other end of it!
Only Arsenal can take all the fun out of a European semi-final. After the two games this week I was really excited to get up early and watch another amazing spectacle.
Unfortunately Arsenal were simply boring and managed to perform a monstrous, easy win without me even spilling my coffee.
Against Chelsea then in the final. Damn it
Great win. And…
Argh, so close. Chelsea it is.
Thank god, no come back! Very nervy but we kept good check of ourselves psychologically. They went one ahead from a very poorly defended counter. Monreal in particular behind his man. We looked under the cosh for a bit but we kept our fragile nerves somewhat together. It looked ominous as they were knocking at the door but as I have said many times this season, the strikers have GOT TO TAKE THEIR CHANCES. I said it before the game we must approach this as if we will have few chances and need to take what is presented. Auba and… Read more »
Wenger left alot of dross but two of his last acts was signing Auba and Laca for money we thought he would never spend.
At the risk of repeating myself… how much more incisive and tigerish does this team look when Iwobi ain’t on the field?
Laca and Auba put in more defensive harrying than Iwobi’s done the entire season!
Even Mesut stuck a few tackles in.
Well done Goon keep bashing our home grown players, fully expect you to move to AMN soon. Besides iwobi hasn’t been playing much recently and the whole team has been poor in EPL…
If you followed this group, you would know the Iwobi is the only local lad I’ve ever ‘bashed’ as you put it. And if freely admitting the lad has loads of talent (with which I always preface any crit of him) is bashing then you’re right. However… if you’d like to let the facts get in the way of one-eyed patriotism – Iwobi has never reached his potential and for 4 seasons we’ve all been saying he’s young! He’s 23 now ffs… has had 3 seasons in and around the first team. Has been given EVERY opportunity, playing with and… Read more »
The first goal was the key. Going down a goal so early in light of what went on in the Champions’ League might well have been the start of a truly terrible night. Not just because of their fans and the Mestalla, but because of our recent dismal form in the PL – especially away from home. But after we got that away goal we began to play as if we wanted it more and their fans went pretty quiet. In the end we beat a very good Valencia side convincingly. Now, all we have to do is do the… Read more »
.Question: if Chelsea finish top 4 and beat us in Baku – do we make CL as runner’s up since they’re already in?
Wtf with the down votes gents… it’s just a bloody question!