It was a rather comfortable effort from Arsenal as Unai Emery’s men cruised past Valencia 2-4 on the night and will face London rivals Chelsea in the Europa League finals. The last few games in the Champions League made us believe in miracles and when Kevin Gameiro took the lead for the hosts on the 11th minute, the Arsenal fans must have had flashbacks of Liverpool and Tottenham’s dramatic comebacks in respective matches. However, the Gunners managed to see out the dodgy first thirty minutes as they gradually got the foothold in the game.
Despite the early nerves, Pierre Emerick Aubameyand restored parity minutes after the Gameiro opener. Things became better with time for Unai Emery’s men as a lapse in concentration in Valencia’s deep defence allowed Lucas Torreira to free Lacazette with his delivery. The Frenchman controlled it well and went past two defenders before slamming it right on the bottom corner to score another away goal for the Gunners.
Gameiro got one back for the hosts minutes later but with back to back strikes from Aubameyang which completed his hattrick, it was way out of bounds for Marcelinho and his men. The Spanish side were beaten handsomely over two legs.
3. Gameiro showed what the other Valencia players lacked
To stage a come-back in football it is always about hunger, desire and intensity. Kevin Gameiro had everything against Arsenal but unfortunately got nothing from his fellow teammates. The former PSG and Sevilla forward showed a lot of character and fought till the last quarter in the game despite knowing that it was an uphill task for the Bats. However, Valencia had serious concerns with their midfield and defence. They gave away the ball very cheaply and allowed the likes of Lacazette and Aubameyang to get in behind them and could not cope up with their pace.
Gameiro was obviously the best player on the pitch for the hosts by far but Marcelinho needed his men to believe in them which they lacked massively and hence fell short to a convincing Arsenal performance away from home.
2. First time in football, four English clubs in two European finals
It has been a dream season for the English clubs. With Manchester City and Liverpool battling for the league title, there has not been much joy for the other clubs. But clubs like Tottenham and Liverpool have done the unthinkable and staged brilliant comebacks in the Champions League to reach the finale in Madrid. Similarly, Arsenal and Chelsea will fight it out against each other in the Europa finals in Baku.
It has certainly been a glorious year for English football as a whole as both the European trophies will be heading to the country at the end of the season.
1. Aubameyang and Lacazette partners in crime yet again
it has been a treat to watch both of the quality forward playing together with the amount of respect for each other. Their main attribute or speciality is they compliment each other really well and one brings out the other’s strengths in the game. Aubameyang go the hat-trick on the night and has been Arsenal’s top scorer this season but Lacazette has been the perfect Robin to Aubamyang’s Batman.
The understanding and the movements of the duo often puts opposition defenders in helter-skelter and that is what happened today with Valencia defenders as they could not manage both of them coming at them with some much creativity and awareness in the final third.
If they keep playing like this Chelsea will have a lot of headaches ahead of the finale and also there will be suitors in the summer transfer window. Hence it will be interesting to see how Unai Emery uses his trump cards.