UEFA Europa League: Valencia vs Arsenal: preview, line-ups, prediction
Valencia will host Arsenal in the second leg game of the Europa League semifinals and try to correct mistakes of the first meeting.
In the first match, which took place in London last week, Valencia head coach Marcelino decided to choose more cautious game plan, firing six nominal defenders at once. And it was justified at first. Arsenal were controlling the ball, but the Bats were sharper and opened the scoring in the 11th minute with Mouctar Diakhaby’s efforts.
However, the home team quickly changed the course of the fight and took the lead thanks to Alexander Lacazette’s double. The Gunners managed to score another goal at the very end of the meeting when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang took advantage of Sead Kolasinac’s cross and made the score more comfortable before the return game.
Now, Valencia will be forced to go ahead and regain the gap after the first match. It will be enough for the Bats to achieve a victory with a 2:0 score to reach the finale, which doesn’t look like such an impossible task.
Last weekend, Marcelino’s team defeated Huesca (6:2), conceding 2 goals only after they guaranteed a positive outcome for themselves. The Spanish club will now try to repeat success in the European Cup standoff.
Arsenal, despite breakthrough in the European arena, continue to fail in the national championship. Following three consecutive defeats, Unai Emery’s wards tied with Brighton (1:1) and lost any chances of getting into the Premier League’s Top-4.
There are no new problems in Arsenal’s composition for the time after the first match. Rob Holding, Hector Belerin, Denis Suarez, Aaron Ramsey and Danny Welbeck have long been in the hospital and won’t play until the end of the season, moreover, some of them have already said goodbye to the club.
Valencia received a boost in the face of former Arsenal midfielder Francis Coquelin, who served suspension and is ready to return to the field.
Valencia: Neto — Piccini, Paulista, Diakhaby, Gaya — Wass, Coquelin, Parejo, Guedes — Rodrigo, Mina
Arsenal: Cech — Maitland-Niles, Sokratis, Koscielny, Kolasinac — Guendouzi, Xhaka — Mkhitaryan, Ozil, Aubameyang — Lacazette
Players to note: Gaya, Guedes — Lacazette, Aubameyang
Time: 20.00 GMT
Venue: Mestalla, Valencia
(Reporting by Nathan Dent, editing by Valerie Cooper)