With just one win in their last five matches in the Premier League, Arsenal are probably aware that with this kind of performance they could hardly achieve anything this season. Right now the Gunners are 11 points behind Chelsea and the Top 4, so it’s now or never for them – they won’t qualify for the Champions League if they don’t start winning on a regular basis.
Mikel Arteta achieved his first win as a manager against Manchester United, but in the next round his team lost two points during the 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s goal at the Selhurst Park was not enough for Arsenal to secure the win.
The bad news for Arteta is that Aubameyang got sent off in this game, so he won’t be avaliable against Sheffield United on Saturday. Meanwhile Hector Bellerin and Callum Chambers remain sidelined as well.
For Arsenal it won’t be easy on Saturday because Sheffield United are performing very well since their promotion from the Championship. Surprisingly for most of the people, the Blades are currently 6th in the league with 32 points, outperforming their next opponent. Only time will tell if Sheffield United will be one season wonder or not. But right now they are showing a lot of quality.
In the previous round United achieved another important win. Chris Wilder’s team hosted West Ham United and won the game with 1-0 at the Bramall Lane. Oliver McBurnie scored the only goal in the game in the beginning of the second half.
In most of the time we would say that Arsenal are clear favourite against Sheffield United, but right now we are not sure how true would be this. The visitors are better positioned in the league at the moment and there are reasons for this.
Valencia hosts Arsenal in a second Europa League 1/2-final game at the Estadio Mestalla in Valencia. One of these two teams is going to reach the final in Baku and right now the Englishmen are in a better position to do it.
Arsenal are having an advantage after the first leg in London, which they won with 3-1. Mouctar Diakhaby opened the score for Valencia after just 11 minutes of playing, but until the end of the game Arsenal turned it around. Alexandre Lacazette scored twice for the Gunners, while Pierre Emerick Aubameyang gave the hosts an even bigger advantage in the last minute of the match. Now Unai Emery’s team is going to feel much more comfortable at the Mestalla with a good advantage of two goals.
For Arsenal winning Europa League could be the only way to qualify for the next edition of the Champions League. The team is not performing well in the Premier League and it’s currently not in the best position to finish in the Top 4.
Meanwhile Valencia are also 5th in La Liga, being 3 points behind the 4th Getafe. Los Che are in a similar situation. Most surely Marcelino’s boys are feeling sorry for the way they allowed Arsenal to turn around the first game in London.
But nothing is over just yet. Valencia can still turn it around – they know that a “clear” win with just two goals difference will allow them to reach the final of the competition. In some cases Arsenal were shaky in their Europa League visits, so this shall give the Spanish team some hope. As for Arsenal, they are aware that they must be very solid in defense on Thursday.
That’s what we had to say about the Europa League 1/2-finals clash between Valencia and Arsenal at the Estadio Mestalla on Thursday night.