Valencia 2 Arsenal 4 – Player Ratings

May 10, 2019

A solid looking team on paper with three at the back plus wingbacks and the Xhaka-Torreira axis. The front three could get isolated if the wingbacks don’t push forward.

Ten men defence or all out attack – let’s hope Unai has got it bang on

First Half

After a slow first ten minutes we decided to spice things up a bit by losing the ball on the edge of Valencia’s penalty area and all of a sudden, 7 men were caught ahead of the ball. A simple goal on the break resulted.

Valencia had a few sniffs but nothing of any consequence and then with our first chance Laca and Auba combined, with the help of a backwards defensive header from our Gabriel, to create a beautifully executed finish from the Gabonese Gooner. Away goal cancelled and an equaliser completely out of the blue. Phew.

Our other two chances both came as we got into the game and even started to string a few passes together. First Auba drove straight at the keeper with his weaker left and then the best chance of the first half fell to Laca after Auba’s brilliant run down the right flank. Alex’s first time effort clipped the outside of the post with the keeper nowhere – oh so close to a second away goal.

Second Half

The second half began in magnificent style with a nicely worked goal finished with a great 360 from Laca and drive into the bottom corner. Two away goals and Valencia now needed 4 goals. Surely that would be enough?!!

from AFC twitter

When they got one back 8 minutes later there can’t have been many Gooners who were completely certain that the mayhem of the previous two nights might not start again in the Mestalla.

Mesut was replaced by Mkhitaryan and we started to control things once more. Ainsley’s assist for Auba’s second was just sublime. The trick to beat the full back and then the driven near post cross were just majestic. When did we last score at the near post? Auba’s finish sent the Gooners both in the stadium and around the world wild with joy. 3-2 away from home and Valencia were back needing 4.

Kolasinac replaced by Mustafi improved the defence as Nacho is so much better as a defending wing back.

Sergio Perez/REUTERS

Matteo for the Terrier was the last excellent substution. He controlled the game for the last ten against a demoralised Valencia team. The final goal was a thing of rare beauty with intricate passing, a stepover, superb return pass by Micki and blasted roof of the net finish for Auba to seal his hat trick. Just superb.


Where has this Arsenal side been hiding in the Premier League? Or is it just a case of English teams are that much more intense?

Unai excelled in the Europa again – it really does seem to be his speciality. The two top-class strikers again proved their worth with 4 goals of such high quality. Seven between them over the two legs – simply outstanding.

What a glorious and unexpected night after the two previous nights of despair! The team confounded most people’s expectations with a performance of real quality. Well Done!

The chavs in Baku and a one game shoot-out. Bring it on.

From AFC


Cech – not sure he had too many saves to make as Valencia’s shooting and crossing wasn’t much better than Napoli’s had been in the quarters … 7

Papa – loved him chest bumping with Kos right near the end – as a pair they were excellent … 8

Kos – magnificent captain’s performance putting his body on the line for the team …  8

Nacho – played his part in his usual whole-hearted way … 8

Ainsley – if he can remove the odd lapse in concentration from his game he’s going to develop into a superb Arsenal stalwart – his assist was so, so good … 8

Sead – still too happy to shovel the ball backwards and then disappear forward – we improved when he got cramp … 7

Granit – a little lumpen on occasion and his intricate short passing game needs work – he gave his all, mind you, which is all we can ask … 7

Lucas – the game seemed to be played around him a little in the first half – great assist for Laca’s goal – still not sure if he and Granit complement each other … 7

Mesut – was ok but when he went off he wasn’t really missed which is telling … 7

Pierre – a world class hat trick from a world class finisher on his day … 10

Alexandre – the second goal came at just the right time and Laca never stopped putting in 100% effort – such a good signing …. 9


Henrikh – away from the hustle and bustle of the EPL, Micki sometimes excels – his cameo was top drawer, topped off with a glorious assist for Auba’s hat trick goal – that old Dortmund combination in all its glory … 8

Shkodran – filled in nicely … 7

Matteo – looked brilliant in his ten minutes on the Mestalla pitch – instrumental in that final goal with his positive forward passing … 8


Unai Emery – everything right on the night – you cannot ask for more … 10

Baku here we come!


Danny Makkelie (NED) – wasn’t fooled by much on the night – excellent … 8


Arsenal FC – Away to Valencia

May 7, 2019

Well this has turned into a real must win game.

Here are the odds from five betting sites and only one predicts an Arsenal loss.

We are leading 3-1 going into the second leg at Valencia’s Mestalla Stadium and must avoid losing by two clear goals in order to progress to the final; on the other hand Valencia’s task will become increasingly more difficult if they allow Arsenal to score.

The Mestalla will be intimidating

Valencia have lost just one of their last 21 games at home in all competitions and have lost just three times in total, twice in La Liga and once in Europe, which was a 2-0 loss to Juventus in the Champions League.

Arsenal have won just two of their last eight games on their travels between cup and league competition and have won just four out of 16 road matches since the start of December.

Valencia will be hoping to win a European trophy for the fist time since they beat Marseille 2-0 in the 2004 UEFA Cup Final.

Arsenal is looking to reach their first European final since they lost to Barcelona 2-1 in the 2006 Champions League final.

Parken Stadium, Copenhagen, 4/5/94. Credit Colorsport/ Stuart Macfarlane

Here is a look at Valencia’s entire Europa League record, their home form is quite formidable W45, D12, L6, GF145, GA57 – on average they score 2.3 goals and concede .9 goals per game.

Will we march on to the Europa League Final on May 29th at the Olympic Stadium in Baku or will our poor away form be our Achilles heel?

My belief is in Unai Emery pushing our squad beyond its natural limits and on to Baku.


Arsenal 3 Valencia 1 – Cojones found – Player Ratings

May 3, 2019

Three at the back, wing backs for width, narrow up front and no Terrier. We need to score goals so hopefully our two main strikers on the pitch can do the business, but they will need service.

First Half

Things looked bleak after an early set-piece setback. The lad who looked like he’d never walk again moments earlier rose at the far post to nod home.

Arsenal’s response was majestic. Lacazette with a brilliant turn set a sprinting Auba free through the middle. Pausing to take the keeper out of the game, he laid it off for the following up Laca to stroke the ball into an empty net.

Seven minutes later, yet another spin by Laca saw him beat the offside trap and be available for Xhaka to pop it beautifully right on to his forehead. The ref’s wrist piece told him the ball was miles over the line when the keeper tried to claw it out after it had come off the post. Laca knew it was in – cue delighted celebrations and suddenly we were in front. Wow.

Second Half

We were excellent in the first 20 of the 2nd period with a full on power play. Every single player snapped into challenges determined to be first to the ball. It was a shame we couldn’t capitalise and score a third and fourth during this purple patch.

As energies dwindled, Valencia began to come back into it and Cech made a brilliant save to keep the slender lead in tact.

Laca’s chances came and went. He really should have grabbed his third but made a dog’s breakfast of a simple header and then hit the keeper’s legs in a one on one.

In the 88th minute Valencia made a time wasting substitute, keen to hang on to the 2-1 and their precious away goal. I began to think about how a slim lead was better than nothing but was doubtful it might be enough.

Then Mkhitaryan, who had provided real thrust when coming on for Mesut, had a shot blocked. The ball ricocheted back to Laca who tested the keeper with a deflected effort but again the ball found its way to Kolasinac who floated his classiest ball of the season to the far post where Auba shinned it in. Perfect. From a squeaky 2-1 to a far more convincing 2 goal cushion. Well played, lads.


We’ll still probably require an away goal in the Mestalla but at least we’re in there with a great chance of the Final.

The first half was pretty even but our second half dominance merited the 3-1.

Another great thing about that late goal was that those who can’t be bothered to remain in their seats until the end of the match, all missed it.

Ratings (extra point for all for us winning the first leg of a semi by 2 goals)

Cech – looked a little shaky on high balls but his save at 2-1 could well be crucial … 8

Mustafi – a fine performance from the German – pre-match worries from Gooners were banished by Shkodran’s commitment , drive and effort … 8

Koscielny – looked to have pulled a hamstring early in the 2nd half but played on fighting for the cause – hope he’s ok, his experience is invaluable  … 8

Sokratis – enjoyed the rough and tumble of the game and even smiled on occasion – he’s so likeable … 8

Maitland-Niles – some good, some not so good, but his positive contributions were excellent after he settled down … 7

Kolasinac – not brilliant in the first half but his final ball got better and better, as did his passing and interplay on that left flank in 2nd half – gem of an assist … 8

Xhaka – excellent through the game – controlled the midfield in the second period and delivered a peach of a cross for Laca’s second … 8

Guendouzi – I was surprised to see him subbed as he seemed to be playing well at that time, intercepting and interchanging to great effect   … 7

Ozil – a little anonymous in the first period but put the after burners on after half time – had a lovely time pinging the ball to and from Xhaka … 8

Lacazette – ran his socks off, scored two goals – could have had two more … 9

Aubameyang – sprinting around with real purpose, it really seemed that Auba had saved himself for this one – instrumental in Laca’s first and got that vital 3rd at exactly the right time … 9


Torreira – found his early season form with great interceptions, tackles and distribution – Unai’s substitution of the tiring Matteo was completely justified by Lucas’s performance … 8

Mkhitaryan – added much more in 20 minutes than he has done in the last three or four games combined in this little cameo … 7

Monreal – little to do as a sub for Kos … 7


Emery – Unai’s magic Europa wand appears to still be in tact after his move to Arsenal – hopefully he can come up with a plan to see us over the line next week … 9

Rob Newell – Camerasport via Getty Images

Marcelino Garcia Wagner – it was perfect that he was satisfied with the 2-1, tried to waste time and then looked crestfallen when he found his side two goals behind … 5


Clement Turpin – any lame efforts at using ‘highway robbery’ in the assessment of Monsieur Turpin were not required as the Frenchman did his best to uphold the rules without wanting to dominate proceedings in a sickening Oliveresque way – loved that moment when he pointed to his wrist to confirm the 2nd goal … 8


Arsenal FC – Our home record against Valencia

April 30, 2019

Valencia was founded as a Roman colony by the consul Decimus Junius Brutus Callaicus in 138 BC, and called Valentia Edetanorum. In 714 Moroccan and Arab Moors occupied the city, introducing their language, religion and customs; they implemented improved irrigation systems and the cultivation of new crops as well. Valencia was the capital of the Taifa of Valencia. In 1238 the Christian king James I of Aragon conquered the city and divided the land among the nobles who helped him conquer it, as witnessed in the Llibre del Repartiment. He also created a new law for the city, the Furs of Valencia, which were extended to the rest of the Kingdom of Valencia.

In the 18th century Philip V of Spain abolished the privileges as punishment to the kingdom of Valencia for aligning with the Habsburg side in the War of the Spanish Succession. Valencia was the capital of Spain when Joseph Bonaparte moved the Court there in the summer of 1812. It also served as capital between 1936 and 1937, during the Second Spanish Republic.

The city is situated on the banks of the Turia, on the east coast of the Iberian Peninsula, fronting the Gulf of Valencia on the Mediterranean Sea. Its historic centre is one of the largest in Spain, with approximately 169 ha (420 acres); this heritage of ancient monuments, views and cultural attractions makes Valencia one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations.

No link between Bruce Wayne and Valencia fortunately

Valencia Club de Fútbol are commonly referred to as Valencia CF or simply Valencia.

Valencia was founded in 1919 and has played their home games at the 49,500-seater Mestalla since 1923. They were due to move into the new 75,000-seater Nou Mestalla in the northwest of the city in 2013, but the final move date has been postponed while the stadium remains under construction.

Valencia is the third-most supported football club in Spain, behind heavyweights Real Madrid and Barcelona. It is also one of the biggest clubs in the world in terms of number of associates (registered paying supporters), with more than 50,000 season ticket holders and another 20,000+ season ticket holders on the waiting list, who can be accommodated in the new 75,000-seater stadium.

Over the years, the club has achieved a global reputation for their prolific youth academy, or “cantera.” Products of their academy include world-class talents such as Raúl Albiol, Andrés Palop, Miguel Ángel Angulo, David Albelda, Gaizka Mendieta and David Silva. Current stars of the game to have graduated in recent years include Isco, Jordi Alba, Juan Bernat, José Gayà and Paco Alcácer.

Gaizka Mendieta

Valencia has had over 60 different managers with nine of them returning on many occasions. Unai Emery managed them for four seasons (2008-2012) his record was,

W107, D58, L55, Win % 48.6.

Emery in his Valencia days and Podgytino (Espanyol) – subliminal message?

Club Honours


La Liga

Winners (6): 1941–42, 1943–44, 1946–47, 1970–71, 2001–02, 2003–04

Segunda División

Winners (2): 1930–31, 1986–87

Copa del Rey

Winners (7): 1941, 1948–49, 1954, 1966–67, 1978–79, 1998–99, 2007–08

Supercopa de España

Winners (1): 1999

Copa Eva Duarte

Winners (1): 1949


UEFA Champions League

Runners-up (2): 1999–2000, 2000–01

European Cup Winners’ Cup

Winners (1): 1979–80


Winners (1): 2003–04

Inter-Cities Fairs Cup

Winners (2): 1961–62, 1962–63

European Super Cup/UEFA Super Cup

Winners (2): 1980, 2004

UEFA Intertoto Cup

Winners (1): 1998

As of April 23rd Valencia is in 5th place in La Liga and is 25 points behind league leader Barcelona. Their 2018/19 record is – W12, D16, L5, GF38, GA28, Win % 52.6.

In our three away games against Valencia our record is – W0, D1, L2, GF1, GA3.

We will need to take full advantage of our home game, where our record against them is – W1, D1, L0, GF2, GA1, in order to give us a good chance of making the Final.