Arsenal travel to Spain as they face Valencia in the 2nd leg of UEL semifinals
Date: Fri, 10/05/2019
Kick-off: 12:30 Am IST
Adding fuel to the fire of excitement that was the Semi-final stage of the Champions League and preceding GW 38 of the English Premier, the Uefa Europa League semi-final stage might go down in history as being part of one of the greatest weeks in modern football. On one hand, Arsenal is leading 3-1 thanks to fantastic performances from Lacazette and Aubameyang in the previous game and on the other Chelsea have a 1-1 scoreline with an away goal advantage. Any way you look at it, it’s going to be a week to remember. If both English teams win, it will be another English final( besides the UCL one). If one or both of them lose, it is just going to add to the comeback tally of the weekend.
Arsenal recently lost and drew a string of games in the PL and were ousted from the top 4. They will be looking to channel that into something positive and try to clinch that spot by winning to Europa League. Unai Emery would like to cap his debut season off with a trophy to instil hope among Arsenal patrons. Valencia are teetering on the edge on both the UEL and the La Liga, with a 3-1 deficit and 5th place on the table respectively. They do have a deceptively advantageous away goal and 5 other teams have progressed from a similar position. So, history is not exactly against them.
Garay might be called up. Diakhaby was the lone goal scorer in the previous game but his return far from certain. Mina is slated to return with Guedes providing support in the front lines of midfield as opposed to forward like in the previous leg.
This being possibly his last crack at the European tournaments and with some decent form to boot, it is almost crystal clear that Petr Cech will play as goalkeeper instead of Bernd Leno. Holding, Bellerin and Welbeck will miss out because of long-term injuries. Iwobi could get the nod in favour of Mesut Ozil. Suarez will probably sit out on account of a groin injury. Arsenal will retain most of their squad from the first leg it seems.
Neto; Piccini, Gabriel, Garay, Gaya; Wass, Parejo, Coquelin, Guedes; Mina, Moreno
Cech; Mustafi, Sokratis, Koscielny; Maitland-Niles, Guendouzi, Xhaka, Kolasinac, Iwobi; Aubameyang, Lacazette
Arsenal : L-L-L-W-D
Valencia : W-L-L-L-W
PREDICTED SCORE: Arsenal 1-1 Valencia
Not the most exciting of scorelines but the teams almost seem evenly matched in terms of form. Both have had costly defeats in recent games. Arsenal should still win overall due to the 3-1 goals advantage but with the sheer amount of comebacks, it goes without saying this prediction is far from ironclad.