Clinical Arsenal cruise to the semis by Konstantin Mitov
Good to see you lovely Arsenal people. That was more like it! We had to win, we were under pressure and we did it and it was honestly comfortable.
I was encouraged by the starting line up. Smith Rowe, Saka and Pepe behind Lacazette and it worked again. We had hunger, we had desire and we had quality.
We were unlucky to be denied a goal after Smith Rowe tapped in after a ridiculous save from their keeper from a Saka effort. And even though it was reviewed like 2 minutes and it was disallowed we didn’t let our momentum slip.
Some slick feet from Smith Rowe fed Pepe who showed immense composure to score the vital goal. Then another lightning move saw Smith Rowe look for Saka, who was brought down in the box and Laca slotted it in for 2:0.
To cap it off Saka scored after another drive down the right and we hurried past them in 6 minutes. Then we just sat back and it never looked like we were in real trouble. Laca finished a good move in the second half to finish the score line. It could’ve been more, especially when Martinelli drove 1:1 with their keeper but missed it just wide.
The line up for me was what did the trick. The young players that have grown in our academy know what it means to play for this club. Laca is a player who always puts in a shift. Pepe has a point to prove. I must say I enjoyed Chambers at right back again. Pablo Mari was solid as well.
Credit to Arteta today, because it looked like we really wanted it. And I will give credit where credit is due, because he knew he was under pressure and the players he picked didn’t let him down. He was helped a little bit by injuries, just like he was before the Chelsea match. Did anyone miss Willian? Bellerin is most likely leaving this summer and wasn’t really missed. I hope Aubameyang recovers soon from Malaria, but we didn’t need him either.
My point stands that when we play players who aren’t here only for their big salary and pension fund, we are actually better than a mid-tabled team and we showed today that we can take care of a team like Slavia Prague with no problem if we put the right attitude and mindset.
Today we were clinical. Something that hasn’t been always the case this season. I think we scored 4 goals from 5 shots on target and we also had a goal disallowed. This is the kind of accuracy we will need in the 2 or possibly 3 remaining games in this competition to make the miracle happen.
Unai and Villarreal are next. It will be spicey for sure, but how hot will it be to battle United for the cup in the final? I hate to get ahead of myself, especially with Arsenal, but that thought excited me, and the Europa League games mean something because of the reward that sits at the end if you win the whole thing.
Now, I’m not usually into superstition and magical gut feelings, but this team has showed that in a cup competition it can pull it together for a few games. Also, we’ve somehow survived Befica. We made it a tough fight against Olympiacos, but pulled it together. We were pegged back by Slavia in the final minute, but today we crushed them. It just could be our moment…
This win gives some meaning to the league games as well, because if you want to be in the starting 11 and you aren’t Willian or one of the other Arteta favs you need to perform well. All in all it was a job well done tonight. Fulham next and I wouldn’t mind a good winning run in the league to keep the spirits high!