Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alex Lacazette look set to be rested when Arsenal go to Burnley for the final game of the Premier League season on Sunday. And who can blame coach Unai Emery for wanting to let his strikers recover rather than take part in a game which has become something of a dead rubber now that the Gunners can’t finish fourth and grab a Champions League spot.
Surely, it’ll be a case of resting first-teamers and therefore avoiding any threat of injury for the upcoming big game. Because one way they can take a place in the competition, however, is by winning the Europa League. And it was the twin marksmen who helped secure the north London outfit a place in the final last night with a 4-2 win over Valencia. The victory gives the them a place in the final against fellow capital side Chelsea in Baku, Azerbaijan, at the end of the month. The triumph was in no small measure down to the forwards, with Aubameyang hitting a superb hat-trick and Lacazette chipping in with the other goal.
Emery, who won the Europa League three times on the spin while he was coach at Sevilla, reserved special praise for his hitmen after the win against another side that he formerly managed– but said that he was very pleased with the overall performance from his charges, too.
He told the club’s official website after the thrilling win: “Yes, really they are very good strikers but I am proud of them in how they worked defensively. We needed that today, the big players can be good strikers but when their commitment is like today, working defensively to help us, it’s amazing. After their goal, our attacking moments were coming because our positioning and other players can create chances for them to score. But I think it’s the work of every player and they did it perfectly.
“Every player congratulated Aubameyang on his hat-trick and before the match I think we spoke in the hotel, everybody, about our moments, about our experiences, about being together and how we can take the best performance collectively and individually.
“They made that and after the match congratulations because every player gave us all they can do in 90 minutes and after, individually, we can also speak about some players.
“Aubameyang for the goals, Lacazette for another goal but I think we worked very well and this work is for being proud of them and also remembering our supporters at home. We played last week and they were full in the stadium with us. Today they are coming here to support us and I think we can be proud of each single player and every single one of our supporters.”