26 February 2019
9 associations bidding to host 2021 club finals
Chelsea and Arsenal will now feel they've got a great chance of facing each other in the Europa League Final, set for Baku on May 29.
Both teams recovered from very slow starts against Eintracht Frankfurt and Valencia respectively in the first-leg matches of the Europa League semi-finals on Thursday.
Arsenal conceded a goal after ten minutes and might have conceded more.
But they didn't and instead, Arsenal recovered to lead 2-1 at half time with two goals by Alexandre Lacazette. In the second half, Valencia was happy to defend in the hope of returning home to Spain with just a one-goal deficit to overturn.
Things were going according to Valencia's plan as the clock reached minute 90 but there was to be a dramatic finish. Substitute Henrikh Mkhitaryan drove at the Valencia defense and a thunderous shot by Lacazette was parried by the Valencia goalkeeper.
The ball broke to wingback Kolasinac who had moved forward in support. Kolasinac's floated cross to the far post initially looked to be a dreadful choice but instead, it was inspired.
Valencia goalkeeper, Neto, at fault for Arsenal's second goal was again found wanting. He opted not to come to gather the cross and then he failed to close down Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who appeared at the far post.
Aubameyang drove his volley into the ground and into the Valencia net. At 2-1 Valencia would have been favorites but that goal turned the complexion of the tie completely.
Nevertheless, Arsenal will face a stern test next Thursday in Valencia.