Europa League result - Arsenal put on a show to down Slavia Prague and reach semi-finals in style
Europa League quarter-final second leg, Sinobo Stadium - Slavia Prague 0 Arsenal 4 (Pepe 18', Lacazette 21' pen., 77', Saka 24'). Arsenal win 5-1 on aggregate.
Alex Lacazette celebrates scoring the 2nd Arsenal goal with (L) Nicolas Pepe and (R) Dani Ceballos during the UEFA Europa League Quarter Final Second Leg match between Slavia Praha and Arsenal at Sinobo Stadium
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.
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.
Arteta 'really happy' with Odegaard and Ceballos
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.