If you’re an Arsenal fan, there’s been plenty of reasons to be extremely downbeat over the last few weeks. With top four a real possibility just a few weeks ago, the Gunners crumbled. In the Premier League Unai Emery’s men have lacked ideas and looked tired.
In the Europa League though, it’s been a different story. Emery specialises in this competition and he and the team have truly excelled in the quarter and semi-finals, winning both the home and away legs against two solid European outfits in Napoli and Valencia.
The difference in both ties has been the sublime strike-force of Pierre Aubameyang (£1.50) and Alexandre Lacazette (£1.26). Earlier in the season Emery may have shied away from playing the two strikers together, but the Spaniard now seems to have realised that attack is the best form of defence for this set of players. The duo have grown in confidence as this competition has progressed and their partnership and understanding is brilliant.
Even in victory at the Mestalla on Thursday night, Arsenal’s midfield and defence were hardly convincing. Lapses in concentration allowed for Valencia to nick the two goals they needed to progress on the night, but goals from Aubameyang (3) and Lacazette (1) ensured that Arsenal did not need to worry about their defence.
On the Index Aubameyang was a hit too, winning star player with a very impressive Match Day Score of 242. Aubameyang has been in prolific form for Arsenal this season, netting 28 goals and providing 7 assists.
Lacazette has been equally impressive, netting 18 times and contributing 11 assists. The Frenchman offers lots to this Arsenal team, providing great energy both in attack and defence and was recently crowned player of the year for the club.
The Gunners will now face Chelsea in Baku at the end of the month and one things for sure, if Arsenal at to be victorious in that match, they will need Aubameyang and Lacazette to take their recent fine form into the final and be at their clinical best.
Behind the two strikers Emery has a big decision to make. He would’ve loved for Ramsey to be fit to start in that position, but he will be injured. Mesut Ozil (£1.26) has underwhelmed, whilst Mkhitaryan (£0.49) lacks consistency and may not even feature in Baku due to political issues. Emery could turn to Iwobi (£0.46) in that number 10 role, a player he has placed a lot of trust in this season.
Despite an up and down season, if the Gunners can win a European trophy it will most certainly be judged as a successful opening season for new boss Emery.