Arsenal did their best to book themselves a place in the semi-final of the Europa League as they defeated Slavia Praha at home with 4-0.
The Czech Republic team had earlier traveled to England last week as they made sure they earned a point from the 1-1 draw that was played.
Arteta’s players realized that failing to beat a Slavia team that had been unbeaten at home in all competitions this season would send them crashing out of the tournament, bringing an end to an already terrible season.
Important questions were being asked of them regarding the manner in which they frittered away a lead in the final minutes of the first leg, handing Prague the advantage heading into the return match on Thursday night.
Before Nicolas Pepe gave the visitors the lead on 18 minutes, the superb Emile Smith Rowe had already had a goal ruled out for the tightest of offsides calls, voiding out Slavia’s away goal.
Three minutes later, Alexandre Lacazette went on to score from the penalty spot to make it 2-0, and Bukayo Saka added an elegant third goal – all within 24 minutes of the match starting.
Smith Rowe walked right through the Slavia defense before working the ball to Pepe, who showed tremendous composure to score his fifth Europa League goal of the season after a goal was ruled out for offside.
Saka then took the spotlight, winning a penalty that Alexandre Lacazette converted before scoring the third with a fine finish from the edge of the box.
The match was definitively over at that point. Arsenal had accomplished their goal, and they coasted through the rest of the quarter-final, with Lacazette adding a fourth goal on 77 minutes to cap off a fantastic night’s work.
Arsenal’s next match in the Europa League will be against the Spanish team Villareal, as the Villareal coach, Unai Emery, who left arsenal about 16 months ago will be chanced to prove a point against his former club.