Arsenal is at an advantage after winning 3-1 against Valencia. Alexandre Lacazette’s first-half double and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang‘s late third gave Arsenal the advantage in their Europa League semi-final.
Mouctar Diakhaby’s early header had given Valencia the lead and a precious away goal but Frenchman Lacazette bagged a double before halftime to settle the jitters at The Emirates.
Arsenal might have conceded more, but they didn’t and instead recovered to lead 2-1 at half time with two goals by Alexandre Lacazette. In the second half, Valencia was happy to defend in the hope of returning to Spain with just a one goal disadvantage to overturn.
At 2-1 Valencia would have been favorites. But Aubameyang drove his volley into the ground and into the Valencia net. That goal turned the angle of the tie completely.
Arsenal lost 3 consecutive Premier League games to drop to 5th place in the table with 2 games to go. This undermined their hopes of qualifying for the Champions League via a top 4 finish.
Manager, Unai Emery, has a special relationship with the Europa League. Having won it three times in a row with Sevilla and delivering the trophy to Arsenal for the first time now looks their most likely way back into the tournament.
Unai told reporters, “It’s a good result, but the second leg is going to be very difficult and maybe different. I consider it 50-50 in this one. They are going to feel strong with their supporters there.”
Happy Birthday to Arsenal and Nigeria’s international player, Alex Iwobi!!