Arsenal take a 3-1 lead into the second leg of their Europa League semi-final tie with Valencia on Thursday night, as they sit on the cusp of a place in the final.
Goals from Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang have given Unai Emery’s men the advantage, and the attacking duo will undoubtedly be crucial in the reverse fixture to complete the job.
However, Arsenal have been porous at the back this season and having conceded an away goal, it remains to be seen if that comes back to haunt them as they’ll be desperate to reach the final in Baku later this month.
The Gunners have already been dealt a huge blow by all-but failing to finish in the top four in the Premier League this season, and so they will be desperate to get back to the Champions League by using a different route in winning this competition.
With that in mind, it’s no surprise that Emery has gone with a strong starting line-up, with his main attacking threats getting the nod to try and grab a key away goal to potentially kill the tie.
Mesut Ozil will look to pull the strings behind Lacazette and Aubameyang, with Lucas Torreira and Granit Xhaka starting alongside him in midfield to offer some solidity and defensive protection.
As noted above, that will be needed given Arsenal’s poor defensive form this season, and so Emery will hope that he doesn’t have to rely on his dynamic duo up front to get them out of trouble if they concede early.
Based on the tweets below, one decision from the Spanish tactician that went down particularly well was leaving Shkodran Mustafi out of his starting line-up, with the German defensive ace coming under fire on a regular basis this season having been error prone.
With Laurent Koscielny and Sokratis at the heart of the backline, Arsenal will hope it’s enough to keep Valencia quiet and advance to the final.
? Here’s how we line up for tonight’s semi-final second leg…
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) May 9, 2019
Valencia don’t have a number 27 and we don’t have Mustafi, we should be safe
— Ghoochannejhad (@_C_hacha) May 9, 2019
No Mustafi got me like pic.twitter.com/pfWcoKJNgY
— Robert Greville (@RobertGreville) May 9, 2019
No mustafi pic.twitter.com/dKATbBURTz
— charlieeee (@CharlieLock45) May 9, 2019
No mustafi alhamdulillah
— Ramadan Ramsey (@sahid2304) May 9, 2019
No Mustafi. Get the fuck in
— ??? (@Sidenomenal) May 9, 2019
No Mustafi? Inject ?????
— Rowe (@JordanRowes) May 9, 2019
Thankfully not necessary
— Fpl (@fplgunner26) May 9, 2019
No Mustafi = ez win
— Mateusz (@MzilPL) May 9, 2019
Yeesssssssss!!!!!! No mustafi
— cristian (@Coyg_cristian17) May 9, 2019
No Mustafi .. ?
— Hussain Abdulla (@hd07_) May 9, 2019