Arsenal ratings: Lacazette and Aubameyang shine in tandem up front but defence still has question marks

ALEXANDRE LACAZETTE bagged a tie-turning double but Arsenal's defensive fragilities were also clear to see in a 3-1 Europa League semi-final first leg win.

Here's our verdict on the Gunners, including a reshuffled backline and Mesut Ozil prompting in midfield, behind Lacazette and fellow scorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Petr Cech

Played what is almost certainly his final match on English soil before retirement. Not the impenetrable wall he once was but made solid stops to deny Parejo and Gameiro in both halves.

Shkodran Mustafi

A surprise inclusion given his dodgy recent form and he did not look much better here. Clumsy in the tackle, but did clear off the line when Cech was beaten in the air by Diakhaby.


Caught goalscorer Diakhaby with a nasty lunge early on in the game. That aside, his brute strength came in handy with a number of clearances and physical shepherding of Valencia’s attackers.

Laurent Koscielny

Excellent last-ditch header to deny Guedes a golden opportunity ten minutes into the second half. Still to return to the imperious player he was before his Achilles injury – if he ever will.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles

Valencia had most joy down their left as they exposed the attack-minded Maitland-Niles. An ill-judged header back to Cech almost sparked disaster as it went to Guedes, but the Portuguese could only flick over the bar.

Matteo Guendouzi

Was relatively solid in possession but could not have too many complaints when subbed for the more physical Torreira before the hour.

Granit Xhaka

Allowed Diakhaby to ghost in behind him for the opener but was impressive with his passing. He teed up Lacazette’s second with a pinpoint delivery and would have had another assist for a similar ball had Aubameyang had on his shooting boots.

Sead Kolasinac

The Bosnian’s threat down the left looked to have been nullified by another team of late but in the final minute he swung in a delicious cross which Aubameyang gleefully gobbled up.

Mesut Ozil

Didn’t do anything wrong but nothing outstanding either. Just OK, average, meh… like so many of his Gunners performances. His extortionate wages remain unjustified.

Alexandre Lacazette

A strange evening for the Frenchman given he scored twice with a tap-in and a solid header in the first half. Yet he will know he could have put the tie beyond Valencia had he not fluffed two sitters after the break.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Teed up Lacazette well for the leveller after his own chance had gone. Looked like being a frustrating night in front of goal for the Gabon star until the 90th minute when he fired home for 3-1.


Torreira (on for Guendouzi, 58): Swept up neatly when tracking back.

Mkhitaryan (on for Ozil, 75): Hard to see his long-term future being at Arsenal while Emery is around.

Monreal (on for Koscielny, 83): Came on late for captain Koscielny.

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