Before a ball was kicked I said this game needed a big performance and boy did we get that. In what was a stunning first half, Arsenal pulled Slavia Prague apart and easily progressed into the semi-final. I said we needed pace down the wings to win and that’s exactly how Arteta lined us up. With Aubameyang missing due to malaria, Lacazette was of course leading the line.
Within minutes it looked like we’d scored with ESR poking home a saved shot but that of course was ruled out by VAR as ESR’s toes were a fraction of a millimetre offside. But then showing composure and desire, Pepe found the breakthrough with a lovely dinked finish from a tight angle. Two more goals came within 6 minutes from the spot and an effortless finish from Saka who was on fire.
From then on we were in cruise control, Lacazette got his second of the night with an excellent turn and shot. Slavia Prague just had no answers and in the end we swept them aside like we should have done last week. Like the performance at the weekend, it was a confident, professional performance and it really showed what this team is capable of.
We were better to a man last night and a number of players have really been at the top of their game. Partey is starting to look like the player we all thought he was when he arrived. Pepe is influencing matches and getting himself among the goals. Lacazette has found his form when we need it most (who knows how long Auba will be out). As for the boys from Hale End, ESR and Saka look to be the real deal, their performances have been nothing short of mesmerizing. We can but dream about what the future holds for them.
Our reward is a semi-final run in with one Unai Emery and his Villareal team. But first onto the weekend and a clash with relegation threatened Fulham.