A proud Unai Emery hailed praises on his Arsenal players after a convincing win over Naples to advance to the semis. Alexandre Lacaztte’s free kick proved to be the decisive goal of the match as Arsenal edge Napoli 3-0 on aggregate to advance to the semi-finals of the Europa League, where the Gunners will face La Liga’s Valencia.
Going into the second leg with a 2-0 advantage, Arsenal managed to hold their nerves to see off Napoli despite the hosts hogging most of the possession, attempts and passes. Lacazette scored in the 36th minute of the match after Aaron Ramsey was substituted of for Henrikh Mkhitaryan. The Welshman may have picked up a hamstring injury.
In a hostile environment, the Gunners emerged winners at the end of the day as coach Unai Emery went his his playing XI from the first leg, where only Granit Xhaka came in for Mesut Ozil. The win kept alive Emery’s bid to win the competition for the fourth time after he missed out last season against Atletico Madrid. The Spanish coach won the tournament for three straight years from 2014 with Sevilla.
It was also the 50th game for Unai Emery in charge of Arsenal since replacing Arsene Wenger as manager this season. ‘I’m very proud of my players, very proud of our work. Here we showed the players have the habit to play matches against good teams, good players, good atmosphere like here. We wanted more possession and to control the match with the ball.,” Emery said after the match.
Emery made a bold move by starting Lacazette and Aubameyang together in an away game. In Arsenal’s win over Watford, Auba requested coach Emery to start the two together.
In the other clash, Chelsea had a stunning game as they beat Salvia 5-3 on aggregate to advance to the semis of the Europa League. In what could be a thrilling encounter, Salvia scored three goals but fell short at Stamford Bridge.
With the draws out, Arsenal will face Valencia while Chelsea lock horns with Frankfurt. The twitter handle of Unai Emery is @UnaiEmery_.