Following three back-to-back defeats in the Premier League, the hopes for ensuring top four are hanging by a thread for Arsenal. The Europa League is their only other alternative to ensure they bring Champions League football back to the Emirates. Hence, the semi-final tie against Valencia was of utmost importance to Unai Emery to gather some momentum for the second tie away from home.
In many ways, Valencia are in a similar position to Arsenal. Valencia have faced a similar bad run of form recently, suffering back-to-back losses against Atletico Madrid and Eibar in the La Liga. Having had all of their top-four hopes snuffed out by the two-horse race between Getafe and Sevilla, the Europa League remains their only redeemer this season.
The odds for both the teams were almost level going into the match but Arsenal dominated the match via superior tactics and a better plan-in-possession. Although Valencia took the initial lead via a Mouctar Diakhaby header, Alexandre Lacazette’s brace gave Arsenal the lead. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang also struck in extra-time to give Arsenal a comfortable win, leaving Valencia with all to do the following week at the Estadio de Mestalla. In this tactical analysis, we’ll look at where and how Unai Emery won the match against his former club and what could’ve gone wrong for Arsenal.
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