The past two days has been absolute mental as we saw a change in European football’s landscape. With focus now shifting to the lesser continental competition I think there may be added pressure on both London sides to make it an all English affair in Baku.
Good day one and all.
Arsenal is in Spain this evening to take on Valencia at the Mestalla, with high hopes of booking themselves a place in this season’s Europa League final, to potentially be one win away from Europe’s promised land of Champions League football next season.
The Gunners hold a 3-1 lead from the 1st leg but whether that is “healthy” remains to be seen, given that the Spanish side come into this game on the back of six goals scored in their La Liga game over the weekend. That, along with the CL events, will give them a measure of confidence that they can overturn this tie to progress through to the final.
Recent weeks… mehn, joyless for Arsenal. Despite wins away to Napoli and Valencia at the Emirates, we were winless in five of our last six Premier League matches, looking tired as Brighton came back from a goal down to drew at the Ems. Not exactly to sort of momentum to carry into such a crucial encounter.
But this right here tonight, offers us a chance at getting our one shot at silverware as well as redemption following a miserable domestic season that had so much promise. Ergo it’s vital we throw caution to the wind on top of staying switched on throughout to defend our 2-goal cushion.
It was at this stage of the competition last season that we fell away; losing to Atletico Madrid at the Wanda Metropolitano after drawing 1-1 in the 1st leg at the Emirates. So for Unai Emery to ensure we get the job done he has to draw from his own Europa experiences, having won it three times on the bounce with Sevilla.
We shouldn’t turn up expecting to defend a 2-goal lead. Part of our struggles in recent weeks has been our defense, even in games we didn’t lose the opposition weren’t short of goal scoring chances. Making our best hope at advancing our strike force. At the start of the season when we were dopey at the back it was them that got us out of tricky situations and tonight we need them on the frontfoot.
Do it Emery. Take off the trailer!
These two sides met three times before at the Mestalla and all three meetings ended in wins for the home side. So no doubt they will give it ‘a go’ tonight hoping to repeat history in front of their home crowd, but…
Would it be enough if the Gunners get an away goal?