Last week, Arsenal went into the first leg looking to put on a show like Liverpool did at Anfield, and this week they’ll be looking for a similar result to the ones secured at The Etihad.
Carrying a 4-1 lead to Moscow, many would expect Arsenal to go through to the Europa League semi-finals with ease but as we saw with Barcelona in Rome on Tuesday, a 4-1 lead can be overturned.
Thankfully for Arsenal fans, this is something that the players have taken notice of with Shkodran Mustafi saying:
“I think it came as perfect timing for us, to see that it is football, you are never safe especially when you win at home and have the away game.”
The away goal that keeps CSKA’s Europa League dream somewhat alive for tonight’s game was a superb free-kick from Aleksandr Golovin which nestled in the North Bank’s top corner.
Along with that goal, CSKA looked to threaten Arsenal on the break with former-Leicester man Ahmed Musa who time and again showed electric pace to burst past the Arsenal defence. Him and Golovin are sure to be key men for the Russians if they’re to get anything from tonight’s quarter-final 2nd leg.
However, Arsenal will be hoping that like last week, even if CSKA show some threatening signs, their quality and firepower will come out on top.
Having gone six consecutive games on the winning end, this is something that is sure to help Arsene Wenger’s men in their mission to progress to the next round.
Not only the fact that Arsenal have won their last six games would give the Gunners encouragement, but the signs that Wenger is taking this competition seriously as it is the club’s only realistic route back into the Champions League.
Playing against Southampton in between the two CSKA legs, Wenger chose to rest Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey and more obviously Alexandre Lacazette who were all instrumental in the 4-1 first leg win at The Emirates.
Ramsey and Lacazette grabbed a brace apiece with both scoring jaw-dropping goals as Ozil ran the show from start to finish with his overall performance. With a full week’s rest (Lacazette did get a cameo appearance against Southampton) I expect the trio to play a massive part in tonight’s game for Arsenal yet again.
However, the Gunners will be without Granit Xhaka who after playing 40 games for Arsenal this season has picked up the flu, which makes it understandable why he hasn’t travelled to Russia. This may be disappointing for Arsenal fans as the Swiss international has had an upturn in form of late.
Also, there was more bad news as after making such an impressive start to his Arsenal career, Henrikh Mkhitaryan has been ruled out for the rest of the season after picking up a knee injury in the 1st leg last week. The Armenian is someone with vital Europa League experience so this could be a big loss for Arsenal, but they should at least make it to the semi-finals of this year’s competition.