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Full Time Analysis: Slavia Prague 0 – 4 Arsenal

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A blistering first-half display saw Arsenal cruise past Slavia Prague 4-0 to progress to the Europa League semi-finals 5-1 on aggregate.

The visitors arrived in the Czech capital knowing they had to score to have a chance of qualifying against a Slavia team who had not lost at the Eden Arena for 18 months, but they had an early ‘goal’ ruled out by the Video Assistant Referee for the tightest of offsides against Emile Smith Rowe.

However, Mikel Arteta’s side soon made up for that disappointment when Nicolas Pepe’s neat, close-range finish gave them a deserved 18th-minute lead, which they soon doubled thanks to Alexandre Lacazette’s penalty (21).

Three minutes later Arsenal were in dreamland when Bukayo Saka’s low drive from the edge of the box made it 3-0, with their captain Lacazette grabbing his second of the night with 13 minutes to go to add the icing on the cake.

Arsenal will now face Villarreal and their former manager Unai Emery in the semi-finals, with the first leg in Spain on April 29, before the return leg at the Emirates on May 6.

Player ratings

Slavia Prague: Kolar (6), Bah (6), Holes (6), Zima (6), Boril (6), Hromada (6), Stanciu (6), Provod (7), Olayinka (7), Kuchta (6), Sevcik (6)

Subs: Tecl (6), Masopust (6), Lingr (6), Visinsky (6), Dorley (6)

Arsenal: Leno (6), Chambers (7), Holding (7), Mari (7), Saka (8), Xhaka (7), Partey (7), Ceballos (7), Smith Rowe (9), Pepe (7), Lacazette (7)

Subs: Cedric (6), Elneny (6), Martinelli (6), Nketiah (6), Balogun (6)

Man of the match: Emile Smith Rowe

How Arsenal blew Slavia away

Arsenal advanced to their third Europa League semi-final in the last four years thanks to a devastating first-half performance in Prague against opponents who rarely lose at home.

Slavia were unable to live with the Gunners before half-time as the visitors tore into their hosts right from the kick-off, going in search of the goal they needed to have any chance of making the semi-finals.

They thought they had it after just 14 minutes when Saka cut in from the right and curled a shot against the inside of the post, with the help of a touch from Ondrej Kolar, Smith Rowe reacting quickest of all to sidefoot home into the empty net.

After a length VAR check, though, the goal was ruled out for an extremely close offside call against Smith Rowe, who soon got over his disappointment to set up Pepe for the opener.

The young Englishman showed quick feet in a tight space in the box, before cleverly feeding Pepe and the Ivory Coast forward held off a firm challenge from behind to score at the near post.

Just moments later, Arsenal increased their lead as Smith Rowe broke free down the right and, from his pull back, Saka was fouled from behind by Jakub Hromada, with Lacazette stroking home the resulting penalty.

A rampant Arsenal added a third goal in the blink of an eye after a lovely flowing move saw Calum Chambers find Saka down the right, with the England international cutting back inside and beating a motionless Kolar at his near post with a low drive.

That really was that, with the home team – who did not have a shot on target in the game – removing all their key players at half-time in order to preserve them for their title battle with city rivals Sparta Prague.

All of which allowed Arsenal, who were again missing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as the forward continues his recovery from malaria, to add a fourth when Pepe got free down the left, before crossing for Lacazette to smash home his seventh goal in his last nine games for the club.

https://twitter.com/SkySportsStatto/status/1382799064861933571?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1382799064861933571%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_c10&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.skysports.com%2Ffootball%2Fnews%2F11959%2F12276486%2Fslavia-prague-0-4-arsenal-agg-1-5-gunners-cruise-into-europa-league-semi-finals

End of Slavia’s unbeaten home run – Opta stats

  1. Slavia Prague suffered their first home defeat in their last seven European games (W3 D3), conceding more goals in this game (4) than in the previous six on home soil (3).
  2. Arsenal have reached the semi-finals of European competition for the 10th time (including Fairs Cup), with the Gunners getting to the last four in three of their four UEFA Europa League campaigns.
  3. Arsenal have scored 3+ goals in four consecutive away games in all competitions for the first time since December 1932 (5 games).
  4. Arsenal kept a clean sheet in a European game for the first time in eight games, since a 3-0 away win over Molde in the UEFA Europa League in November 2020.
  5. Nicolas Pépé has been directly involved in nine goals in his 10 starts for Arsenal in the UEFA Europa League (4 goals, 5 assists).
  6. Emile Smith Rowe registered his seventh assist in all competitions this season, the joint-most of any Arsenal player in 2020-21 (level with Willian).
  7. Only Radamel Falcao (20) and Kevin Gameiro (19) have scored more UEFA Europa League knockout stage goals than Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette (18).
  8. Alexandre Lacazette has scored 2+ goals in consecutive games in all competitions for the first time for any club since his last three appearances for Lyon in May 2017.
  9. With four goals to his name, Bukayo Saka is now Arsenal’s joint-top teenage scorer in major European competition, level with Charlie George and Ray Kennedy.

What’s next?

Slavia Prague travel to Liberec on Sunday afternoon (3pm).

Meanwhile, Arsenal take on struggling Fulham at the Emirates on Sunday, with the game kicking off at 1.30pm on Sky Sports Premier League.

When and where is the Europa League final?

The Europa League final takes place on Wednesday, May 26 at the Gdansk Arena in Poland. The stadium was due to host the 2020 final, but after the tournament was delayed due to Covid-19, the showpiece took place in Cologne, Germany as Sevilla beat Inter 3-2.

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📺 Miquel Azeez is Simply Outstanding, Watch As He Nutmegs 3 Defenders To Score A Goal

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Miquel Azeez Has Been Outstanding For Arsenal Un23 side this season, he continues his great run of form yesterday as score a man of the match goal to hand Arsenal Un23 side a victory in the final game of the season.

📺 Watch The Great Goal…

https://twitter.com/ArsenalAcademy/status/1392523112919486473?s=19

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Arsenal to agree deal with Italian head-coach

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Maurizio Sarri could reportedly be in line for a surprise return to Premier League with either Arsenal or Tottenham.

 

The Italian tactician has been out of work since being given the boot by the Serie A giants Juventus last August – in spite of guiding the Old Lady to their 36th Scudetto.

 

Sarri is understood to be eager to get back in the dugout next term, with Italian journalist Carlo Laudisa stating the 62-year-old could very well return to the English top-flight.

 

During an appearance on Radio Punto Nuovo, the Gazzetta dello Sport journalist said: “Sarri could go to England.

 

“The Tottenham solution being the most plausible, but the Arsenal bench could also become free, as [Mikel] Arteta has missed all the Gunners’ season goals.”

 

Carlo’s claim that Maurizio could return to England comes in spite of reports the veteran coach is against the idea of resuming his career abroad.

 

The former Napoli leader is reportedly concerned about upping sticks during the COVID-19 pandemic in case he is unable to return to his homeland.

 

He enjoyed success during his sole campaign in charge of Chelsea, guiding the Blues to UEFA Europa League glory with a 4-1 win over Arsenal in Baku.

 

If Sarri is indeed open to managing the Gunners, he’ll no doubt be keeping tabs on developments at the club over the coming weeks.

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Video Highlights, Full Match Analysis: Chelsea 0 – 1 Arsenal

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Emile Smith Rowe denied Chelsea the chance to cement their top-four status as he took advantage of Jorginho’s howler to give Arsenal a 1-0 win at Stamford Bridge.

The Blues would have all but secured their Champions League qualification with a victory which would have taken them 10 points clear of Liverpool, who have four games left to play, but after making seven changes ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup final, struggled to create clear-cut chances.

Kai Havertz should have put them ahead 10 minutes in when he intercepted Gabriel’s loose pass for Pablo Mari and raced clean through, but then fired over Bernd Leno’s bar with only his compatriot to beat. Moments later Jorginho’s equally poor back-pass was kept out by Kepa Arrizabalaga at full stretch, but Smith Rowe was on hand to bundle home after being teed up by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Chelsea were dominant for the large majority of the remaining 75 minutes without forcing Leno into any uncomfortable saves until the final minute. They did beat him through Pulisic’s close-range header from a corner, which was swiftly denied by a VAR review, before the German produced a stunning stop to tip Kurt Zouma’s header onto the crossbar, which was then rattled by Olivier Giroud’s shot on the rebound.

Player Ratings

Chelsea: Kepa (6), James (6), Azpilicueta (6), Silva (6), Zouma (6), Chilwell (5), Jorginho (4), Gilmour (5), Pulisic (5), Mount (6), Havertz (5).

Subs: Hudson-Odoi (6), Giroud (6), Ziyech (5).

Arsenal: Leno (7), Gabriel (6), Mari (7), Holding (6), Tierney (7), Partey (6), Elneny (8), Saka (5), Odegaard (6), Smith Rowe (7), Aubameyang (5).

Subs: Bellerin (6), Lacazette (5), Chambers (6).

Man of the match: Mohamed Elneny

What the managers said…

Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel told Sky Sports: “We had three days, we are on a good run, we had a good mood. The choices were not so good today from my side for the line-up so that’s on me. We were unlucky, of course. But we did everything today to lose.

“I’m not happy with my line-up. It’s easy to say afterwards. But it was too many changes, I should not have done it like this. It’s something in particular – but I will not tell you!”

 

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta told Sky Sports: “I don’t know how they’re going to try from the outside but from the inside, nothing is broken.

“They’re going to put things on me that I never said, you can see the spirit of the team from the first minute. You can never doubt their efforts and how much they try.”

Match stats

  1. Arsenal completed their first Premier League double over Chelsea since the 2003-04 season, while this was their first league win at Stamford Bridge since October 2011, ending an eight-game winless run there (D2 L6).
  2. Chelsea suffered only their third defeat in 26 matches in all competitions under Thomas Tuchel (W17 D6), with all three defeats coming at Stamford Bridge.
  3. Arsenal have won three consecutive away Premier League matches without conceding for the first time since May 2013 under Arsène Wenger.
  4. Arsenal have had a different player aged younger than 21 score in each of their last three Premier League matches against Chelsea – Gabriel Martinelli in January 2020, Bukayo Saka in December 2020 and Emile Smith Rowe tonight.

What’s next?

Chelsea are off to Wembley in the FA Cup final on Saturday, where they will face Leicester City; Kick-off at 5.15pm.

Arsenal’s penultimate game of the season is also in London, with a trip to Crystal Palace next Wednesday night; Kick-off at 7pm.

📽️ Watch The Video Highlights:

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