Europa League Final Preview: The Battles Arsenal Have to Win

It’s a London duel for the UEFA Europa League as Chelsea and Arsenal go head to head at the Olympic Stadium in Baku, Azerbaijan tonight.

These are the key areas where the match will be lost or won for my beloved Arsenal.

  1. Cech or Leno in goal

I understand if Unai chooses to play Cech, he’s been our cup keeper and is an experienced professional who can be trusted to deliver on the biggest stage of all against his former side. Personally, I’d pick Leno because he’s our number one and so much is riding on this match to risk a playing Cech despite those reports of him going back to Chelsea as a technical director or something.

  1. No room for mistakes in defense 

The defence has been Arsenal’s Achilles heels in the league, with costly errors which lost us easy matches and important points. Hopefully, the back three of Koscienly/Socratis/Monreal have a good day in the office and is rock solid for the entire match. Additionally, Koscienly has to win those aerial battles with Giroud and give the former gunner no space to hold up play and link up with his teammates like he so well does.

  1. Ozil has to turn up

It’s as simple as that. An on-song Ozil is a dangerous weapon to have in your team, and we have two strikers in Laca and Aubameyang who have the skill to bury chances.

  1. Torreira stifling Hazard

The Belgian is the one player I fear in that team, give him space and he’ll wreak havoc worse than the Mother of Dragons did in King’s Landing. I can only hope that all the talk of him joining Real Madrid has turned his head enough for our little Uruguayan to pocket him.

  1. Laca and Aubameyang 

Crazy statistic this: despite being joint top scorer in the EPL with 22 goals, Aubameyang lost the most ‘big chances’ with 23. Lacazette, on the other hand, missed 13. This is one night they have to be ruthless.

If these two are firing on all cylinders today, the bells of surrender will be ringing all through Baku before the 45th minute.

  1. Precise Delivery by Wing Backs

If Emery goes for three at the back then most of Arsenal’s attack will be through the flanks, which means Kolasinach and Maitland-Niles have to be precise in their delivery into the box. The former often creates chances but has a poor final pass.

I know too well that football is a crazy game and the match can be lost even with the best tactics. An unfortunate red card, a lucky penalty, injury to a key player, an offside goal, Giroud scoring an own goal and removing his blue jersey to reveal the Arsenal shirt worn underneath, anything is possible.

Come on Arsenal.



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