Arsenal Cruises Into Europa League Semi-finals

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A thrilling first-half display saw Arsenal cruise into the semi-finals of the Europa League after a 4-0 away victory against Slavia Prague at the Sinobo Stadium in Prague, winning 5-1 on aggregate.

The visitors arrived in the Czech capital knowing they had to score to have a chance of reaching the semi-finals against a Slavia team who had not lost at the Sinobo Stadium for 18 months. The gunners were again without Gabon’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as the forward continued his recovery from malaria.

Arsenal had an early goal ruled out by VAR for an offsides against Emile Smith Rowe. Moments later, Smith Rowe dazzled the Slavia defenders in the box before cleverly finding Nicolas Pepe. The Ivorian held off his marker’s challenge to chip the ball into the net for the opening goal in the 18th minute.

Arsenal winger Nicolas Pepe scores opening goal against Slavia Prague

Slavia were unable to contain the Gunners and the visitors continued to pile on the pressure to extend the lead.

Arsenal eventually doubled when Bukayo Saka was fouled from behind by Jakub Hromada in the box and a penalty was awarded. The in-form Alexandre Lacazette stepped up and calmly placed  the ball in the back of the net.

Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette scores penalty against Slavia Prague

The gunners were showing some much needed ruthlessness in front of goal and they added a third in the blink of an eye after a lovely move saw Calum Chambers find Saka down the right.

The England international fired the ball past Slavia goalkeeper Ondrej Kolar, beating him at his near post with a low drive in the 24th minute.

Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka celebrates goal against Slavia Prague with teammates

The gunners went into the halftime break 3-0 up against a Slavia Prague team who did not have a single shot on target in the first half.

Arsenal continued where they left off in the second half, creating numerous chances to extend the lead. The visitors put the icing on the cake in the 77th minute when Lacazette grabbed his second of the night after beating Kolar at his near post, scoring his seventh goal in his last nine games for the club.

Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette (9) scores second goal against Slavia Prague

The match ended 4-0 to Arsenal, winning 5-1 on aggregate to reach the semi-finals of the Europa League.

Arsenal will now face Villarreal and former manager Unai Emery in the semi-finals, with the first leg in Spain on April 29th Stadium on the 6th of May.

“Credit to the players, for how they approached the game and how brave they were in their approach,” Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta said.

“We were brave, we were efficient, we put them under a lot of pressure. And in the final third we were really clinical. We know how important the competition is.”

 

Chidi Nwoke.

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