We all know the storylines. Arsenal are poor away from home. Arsenal have struggled on the road in the Europa League. Arsenal are in the midst of a dismal run of form. Arsenal have taken one point from the last twelve on offer in the Premier League.
And yet there is still something to be salvaged from this, to put it nicely, transitional season. The Gunners can still make the Champions League. Standing in their way, a match at Valencia (up 3-1 on aggregate) and the Europa League Final.
The first leg started badly. Arsenal conceded within 15 minutes and were playing poorly. Giving up a goal, however, seemed to wake the side up. They scored two in quick succession, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s late goal gave the Gunners an all-important cushion heading into Thursday’s match at the Mestalla.
That goal could be the difference between advancing and elimination. It means that even up 1-0, Valencia will still have to press for a goal, and that could open up opportunities for Arsenal on the counter. And if the Gunners score, I doubt even this side could bottle things so badly as to not advance (knock on wood).
Hopefully Unai Emery sets up the team to win rather than not to lose. Far too many times this season, Arsenal have happily ceded possession and played passively away from the Emirates. That is a recipe for disaster.
Neither side have any new injuries heading into Thursday’s match. Valencia are riding high off their 6-2 drubbing of Huesca at the weekend. Expect Laurent Koscielny to return to the Gunners’ lineup after resting against Brighton.
WHAT: Arsenal at Valencia
WHERE: Mestalla Stadium, Valencia, Spain
WHEN: Thursday, May 9th 12:00 PM PT | 3 PM ET | 8 PM BT
US TV: Univision (SP). Streaming on B/R Live ($$$)
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