The Warmdown: The Gunners fly into the semi-finals of the Europa League
PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC - APRIL 15: Alexandre Lacazette of Arsenal celebrates with teammate Thomas Partey after scoring their team's fourth goal during the UEFA Europa League Quarter Final Second Leg match between Slavia Praha and Arsenal FC at Sinobo Stadium on April 15, 2021 in Prague, Czech Republic. Sporting stadiums around Europe remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Martin Sidorjak/Getty Images)

Mikel Arteta told reporters before the game that he wasn't worried about Slavia Prague's impressive unbeaten home record, stating "I don't want to focus on them." 

However nerves seemed to have had gone out the window as Arsenal ran out 4-0 winners at the Sinobo Stadium. Nicolas Pepe, Bukayo Saka and Alex Lacazette were all involved in the goals, with the french striker scoring two on the night. 

The visitors played with the confidence that their manager would've been craving; the majority of the possession being in and around the Slavia penalty area for the majority of the first half. 

The second half was simply the hosts' demise in waiting. They had to push over the half way line to try and save the tie. However the Gunners caught them out with numerous counter-attacks and found the fourth goal late on in the game - Lacazette shooting low and hard from inside the box after a drop of the shoulder. 

  • Youngest in charge 

It was no surprise that Arsenal's young guns shone brighter than the rest in the tie , which was argueably the most important game of their season. 

Saka scored an impressive goal and won his team a penalty in a crucial first half performance. His fellow countryman Emile Smith Rowe covered more ground than any other Arsenal player during the 90 minutes. 

The youngsters have saved Arteta's skin on many occasions this season, and the confident style of play and high intensity output that the English pair play with was tantamount to the team's progression into the semi finals.

Furthermore, both Saka and Smith-Rowe have shown that they can lead the team.

Club captain Pierre Emerick Aubameyang confirmed on his social media before the game that he was due to miss the fixture due to being in hospitalised with Malaria. The Gabonese striker revealed he had contracted the virus when visiting his sick mother back in his home country. 

  • Nicolas Pepe given the stage

Arsenal's £72 Million Ivorian silenced his critics today by scoring the opener and assisting Lacazette's second goal. Pepe was interestingly played as a byline winger last night, playing on the side of his stronger foot. 

His goal was of a calm and cool-headed nature, something that the wide man has been missing this season at times, lifting the ball over the keeper and into the roof of the net. 

Arteta seemed to allow Pepe to also play a more advanced role than he does domestically, conserving energy and bombing forward when the Gunners got onto the counter attack. This proved deadly and too much for the overwhelmed Slavia back line to handle. 

With fans already teasing an all English affair for the final of the competition, Arsenal will need all of Pepe's attacking weapons if a last stand against rivals Manchester United is on the cards.

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