What stress? Arsenal sweeps Slavia Prague apart to arrange a reunion with Emery


Slavia Prague 0-4 Arsenal: Match statistics

What was all of the fuss about?

It was billed as the sport that may outline Arsenal’s season, an evening that would even form Mikel Arteta’s future on the membership.

The stress was alleged to be on towards Slavia Prague however inside 25 very good minutes, the Gunners have been in cruise management.

Final week’s 1-1 draw at Emirates Stadium had left the Gunners with a quite simple equation going into the second leg of their Europa League quarterfinal within the Czech capital: rating a objective.

Arteta’s facet knew failure to discover a approach by way of a Slavia facet that was unbeaten at dwelling in all competitions this season would ship it crashing out of the event and go away an already disappointing season in tatters.

Critical questions have been being requested of the gamers after the way in which by which they threw away a lead within the closing levels of the primary leg handy Prague the benefit going into Thursday night time’s return fixture.

However within the area of six scintillating first-half minutes, these questions have been answered in emphatic type.

The sensible Emile Smith Rowe had already had a objective dominated out for the tightest of offside calls earlier than Nicolas Pepe gave the guests the lead on 18 minutes, thus canceling out Slavia’s away objective.

Alexandre Lacazette then struck from the penalty spot three minutes later to make it 2-0 on the night time earlier than Bukayo Saka added an aesthetic third objective – all inside 24 minutes of the sport getting underway.

It was sport, set and match Arsenal earlier than we had even reached the half-hour mark.

Even in his wildest desires, Arteta would by no means have imagined such a powerful begin from his facet, particularly together with his captain and talisman Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang lacking as a result of contracting malaria whereas away with Gabon on worldwide responsibility.

This was a serious assertion from his facet and one other instance of why there’s real perception inside the membership that issues are on course below the Spaniard.


The abject performances all through November and nearly all of December could have led to a vastly disappointing Premier League marketing campaign, however the enchancment since Christmas has been simple.

Since beating Chelsea 3-1 on Boxing Day, Arteta’s facet sits fourth within the kind desk, with solely Manchester Metropolis, Manchester United and West Ham choosing up extra factors.

And now the Gunners have booked their spot within the Europa League semifinals, the place they may meet Unai Emery’s Villarreal.

Clearly, there’s nonetheless a lot for Arsenal to enhance on and failure to go on and win the Europa League will greater than seemingly go away it dealing with as much as a season with out European competitors for the primary time in 25 years.

For a membership of Arsenal’s stature, that isn’t ok, however there are nonetheless loads of causes for optimism and so they have been all on present as Prague was blown away in its yard.

Arsenal’s homegrown kids have been the catalyst for the advance since Boxing Day and one once more they led the cost – with academy graduates Smith Rowe and Saka proving far too good for the Czech champions.

Instantly after seeing a objective dominated out for offside, Smith Rowe waltzed by way of the Slavia protection earlier than working the ball to Pepe, who confirmed fantastic composure to attain his fifth Europa League objective of the season.

Saka then took middle stage, successful a penalty, which was transformed by Lacazette, earlier than scoring the third himself with a nice end from the sting of the field.

At that time, the sport was carried out and dusted. Arsenal had carried out its job and it cruised by way of the rest of the quarterfinal, with Lacazette placing the gloss on a superb night time’s work with a fourth objective on 77 minutes.

All eyes now flip to the semifinal towards Villarreal and the return of Emery, the person Arteta changed simply over 16 months in the past.

Emery led Arsenal to the Europa League last in 2019 and now he’s the person standing of their approach of repeating the trick two years later.

A return to the Champions League is now inside touching distance for Arsenal. Simply three video games stand between the Gunners and a seat again at Europe’s high desk.

They went to Prague with their season on the road and so they return to London with the dream nonetheless alive.

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