Valencia – Arsenal: All About Auba (2-4)
Game states and a fantastic Arsenal striker constantly getting in good scoring positions were the largest factors in this Europa League semi-final. Initially, Valencia applied themselves well to this match, and managed to score the opener. However, they failed to maintain the efficiency of their early attacking, and fell victim to an onslaught.
Tactical analysis and match report by Peter M.
With a place in the Europa League final at stake - and having witnessed two historic Champions League comebacks already this week - there was little reason to believe Valencia could not pull off a comeback of their own, after losing the first leg of this tie in London.
Valencia’s imposing 6-2 win over SD Huesca sent a warning sign towards Arsenal, who all but gave up their chances of qualifying for the Champions League via a league finish after drawing at home to Brighton and Hove Albion.
Manager Marcelino made two alterations to his weekend starting eleven, with central defender Mouctar Diakhaby being replaced by Ezequiel Garay and striker Kévin Gameiro replacing Santi Mina, in what was very much a 4-4-2 setup this time around.
Arsenal’s front free of Mesut Özil just behind Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette remained intact, despite now starting three games inside a week. Elsewhere, Henrikh Mkhitaryan dropped out of the eleven to facilitate a move to a 3-4-1-2 system, with Sead Kolašinac making his return to the side. Stephan Lichtsteiner and Shkodran Mustafi . . .