A week in Europe where comebacks seem quite predictable, as big clubs in Europe fell to questionable defeats both in the Champions League and Europa League: although, it seemed as though the Gunners were going to be included in a surprise elimination list from Europe, following their 4-1 home win against CSKA at the Emirates in the first leg.
They had a shambolic second leg outing in Russia, as CSKA welcomed the Gunners for the return leg of their quarterfinal Europa League encounter. Wenger had no Xhaka available; who has the flu was left in London whilst his teammates embarked on the journey to Russia. Petr Cech, Hector Bellerin, Shkodran Mustafi, Laurent Koscielny, Nacho Monreal, Mohamed Elneny, Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, Mesut Ozil, Danny Welbeck, Alexander Lacazette, all made the starting XI list for this encounter in Russia.
It was a poor match for the Gunners for almost the entire match, until the last fifteen minutes, which the Gunners really sprung to life like a beating heart once cold. Mohamed Elneny truly deserves his new contract, resuscitating the Gunners when they need saving, showing energy, determination and commitment.
Arsenal left it very late to pierce through the CSKA fan and players who were looking hopeful of qualifying for the semis; leading with a 2-0 scoreline on the night and 3-4 on aggregate until an Elneny masterpiece inspired Danny Welbeck and Aaron Ramsey to score in the closing stages of the match, with the scoreline 2-2 at fulltime and 3-6 on aggregate in favour of the Arsenal.
Welbeck scored the first of the two goals and he really deserved his goal, following a nice turn to lose his marker, playing a one-two with Elneny who beautifully finds the advancing Welbeck with an exquisite through ball with the Englishman scoring in the finest of fashions – creating a mounting high in the process for CSKA.
In added time, Ramsey scored again against Akinfeev with a chipped ball after Elneny’s pass left him one-on-one against the goalkeeper; keeping his cool with a fine finish, continuing with his impressive run of goals and assist in the Europa League.
Although as a Gooner, the closing stages of the match was the amazing Gunners with nice link-up play, but for most of the period it was disappointing Gunners; not getting the magic pass right in the final third, poor marking of their opposition players, which on two occasions led to the two goals conceded by the Gunners and losing the ball easily, particularly Wilshere who hasn’t been impressive in the last few games and is still trying to convince the Arsenal board for an improved contract offer.
In the first half, the Gunners trailed by one goal, following Chalov’s tap-in which was a true poacher finish, as Mustafi failed to keep tabs on his attacker after Cech made a good low-diving save to keep out a header before the host team went a goal up.
Golovin was superb for his team and showed why the Gunners are serious about acquiring his services. His effort would help lead to his team scoring a second which then put serious pressure on the Arsenal. He tried curling an effort from outside the box but Cech was only able to keep the ball out, which fell to a CSKA player who then acted quickly to put his team two nil up.
The Gunners would soon know who they face in the semis of the Europa in a matter of hours, hoping we avoid Atletico Madrid and Marseille in the draw, as the team takes one more step in handing Wenger his first ever European title.