The second leg of the Europa League semi-finals between Valencia and Arsenal was poised brilliantly. Arsenal had a two-goal lead but with the recent comebacks of Liverpool and Tottenham against Barcelona and Ajax respectively, it would have been premature to write them off. The fact that Valencia had defeated Huesca 6-2 during the weekend in the La Liga was even further cause for apprehension for the Gunners.
In contrast to that, Arsenal were effectively out of the top four race in their domestic journey as they could manage only one point against Brighton when they needed three to stay alive. The pressure was all on Unai Emery to perform as Valencia had nothing to lose, and in their own home stadium – the Mestalla – no one was expecting them to adopt a defensive game plan.
However, Arsenal defeated them comfortably in a six-goal thriller to book a place against Chelsea in the final in Baku. Valencia opened the scoring in the tenth minute but Arsenal responded in kind and more as both of Arsenal’s strikers – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette were in top form, the latter even getting his first hat-trick for Arsenal. In this tactical analysis, we’ll talk about the tactics employed by both managers and how Emery was the more decisive of the two.
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