Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette were the stars of the show in Arsenal’s 3-1 victory over Valencia on Thursday, putting the Gunners in the driving seat in their Europa League semi-final.
Aubameyang and Lacazette scored all three of Arsenal’s goals in their first-leg victory, overturning an early setback to secure a two-goal lead in the European semi-final. They rightly earned their place at the top of our player ratings on the night and all the plaudits on social media for turning up at just the right time for the Gunners.
That hasn’t always been the case in recent weeks, as the pair drew blanks in defeats to Wolves and Everton. Aubameyang has also been getting some stick for leading the league in big chances missed this season.
In the Europa League, however, the pair continue to produce the goods when it matters. In the knockout stages alone, Aubameyang and Lacazette have a combined six goals and three assists in Arsenal’s seven matches so far. The two combined for Arsenal’s opener against Valencia, and they’re building an increasingly effective partnership up front.
For Sky Sports, this is apparently a bad thing. They called Arsenal’s reliance on their star strikers a ‘worrying trend’ in the below tweet, which has since been deleted.
It’s rather strange to make out that Arsenal’s strikers scoring important goals is anything other than a positive. Of course, supporters are aware that the rest of the team need to be contributing more to the goals, but you can’t win games with two players alone, so the other nine starters are playing their part too.
Now they just need to get through the second leg. Valencia’s away goal could still prove crucial, and the Gunners will have to try and get one of their own if they want to avoid a nervous 90 minutes in Spain. It’s a tightly balanced tie, despite the Europa League odds having Arsenal as 1/4 favourites to qualify for the final as it stands.
Let’s hope Aubameyang and Lacazette are just as effective in front of goal next Thursday, and the defence stands as strong as they did in Naples last round.