Arsenal blew Slavia Prague away 4-0 at the Sinobo Stadium to book their place in the Europa League semi-finals in style.
Make no mistake, this was set to be an incredibly tough fixture for Arsenal with the Czech side unbeaten in 31 home matches, so the odds looked stacked against the Londoners.
And it seemed like it wasn’t going to be their night after Emile Smith-Rowe saw an early goal chalked off for offside by VAR. But the disallowed goal spurred Arsenal on, and three minutes later, they had the ball in the back of the net.
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Smith-Rowe this time turned provider as he produced some neat footwork to embarrass the Slavia Prague defence before slipping Nicolas Pepe in, who squeezed the ball past Ondrej Kolar’s near post.
And the Arsenal faithful didn’t have to wait long for their second of the night. Bukayo Saka was brought down inside the box by Jakub Hromada and the penalty was given. Up stepped Alexandre Lacazette, who coolly slotted the ball into the net.
The two goal lead then became three, when Saka fired a low left footed shot from the edge of put the game well beyond the stunned home side.
At half-time, Jindřich Trpišovský made a host of changes to the Slavia Prague line up to sure-up their defence. But it didn’t stop Lacazette, who grabbed his second of the evening, with a composed finish inside the box.
Next up for Slavia Prague is an away trip to sixth-placed Liberec in the league, while the Gunners host relegation threatened Fulham, who are desperate for points.

TALKING POINT - Arsenal hit their stride

The importance of this result was stressed by Mikel Arteta in the build up tonight's game, with Arsenal's European football hopes dangling by a thread. But from the first whistle they implemented their managers plan and blew the opposition away with three goals in less than 10 minutes. From that moment on they never looked back and controlled the game to book their place in the next round.

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MAN OF THE MATCH - EMILE SMITH-ROWE (ARSENAL)

Truth be told there were so many great performances this evening. But the importance of Smith-Rowe's disallowed goal cannot be overlooked. His quick reactions broke the ice for the visitors and proved that grabbing an away goal wasn't impossible. His energy and quick feet were just what Arsenal needed to unlock this tough opposition.

PLAYER RATINGS

Slavia Prague: Kolár 5, Bah 6, Holeš 6, Zima 6, Boril 6, Hromada 6, Stanciu 6, Provod 6, Ševcík 6, Olayinka 6, Kuchta 6, Lingr 5, Masopust 5, Tecl N/A, Dorley 5
Arsenal: Leno 6, Chambers 7, Holding 7, Marí 6, Ceballos 6, Xhaka 6, Smith Rowe 9, Partey 6, Saka 8, Pépé 8, Lacazette 8, Soares N/A, Elneny 5, Balogun N/A, Martinelli 6, Nketiah N/A

KEY MOMENTS:

14' GOAL FOR ARSENAL (0-1) - Smith Rowe reacts quickest to Saka's shot which comes off the post. Arsenal have that away goal.
16' VAR decision (0-0)- And it has been chalked off. It's still 0-0. Smith Rowe was fractionally off side and will feel hard done by
18' GOAL FOR ARSENAL (0-1) - Arsenal have done brilliantly to score so quickly. Pépé stays on his feet as he squeezes the ball past Kolár
19' Penalty for Arsenal! - Saka is brought down inside the box. Hromada picks up a booking for his challenge
21' GOAL FOR ARSENAL (0-2) - Lacazette keeps his cool and slots the ball into the back of the net. Arsenal are flying
24' GOAL FOR ARSENAL (0-3) - It's a third goal. Saka fires the ball into the back of the net with low hard left footed finish. This tie must be beyond the home side now.
77' GOAL FOR ARSENAL (0-4) - Lacazette keeps his head inside the box to produce a clinical finish

KEY STATS:

  • Arsenal have reached the semi-finals of European competition for the 10th time (including Fairs Cup), with the Gunners getting to the last four in three of their four UEFA Europa League campaigns.
  • Alexandre Lacazette has scored 2+ goals in consecutive games in all competitions for the first time for any club since his last three appearances for Lyon in May 2017
  • Arsenal have scored at least three goals in four consecutive away games in all competitions for the first time since December 1932 (a run of five)
  • Bukayo Saka has now scored four goals for Arsenal in European competition; the joint-most of any teenager for the club (excl. qualifiers), along with Charlie George and Ray Kennedy
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