Europa League: Arsenal and Chelsea set up an all-English final

A Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang hat-trick helped Arsenal into the final of the Europa League as they won in Valencia for a 7-3 aggregate victory.

The Gunners are now just one win away from Champions League qualification, while manager Unai Emery can make history by winning a record fourth Europa League crown.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored a hat-trick to see off Valencia and send Arsenal into the Europa League final

Trailing 3-1 from the first leg in London, Kevin Gameiro’s close-range effort had given the hosts the early impetus. The win means Arsenal, whose first away game of this Europa League campaign was in Azerbaijan against FK Qarabag, will return to the country for the final on 29th of this month.

This will be Arsenal’s first European final since 2006 when they lost against Barcelona in the Champions League final.

Elsewhere, Chelsea battled to the final after beating Frankfurt 4-3 on penalties to set up another all English final in Europa League after Tottenham and Liverpool set up all English final in the champions league.

 

I’m leaving a man’: Aaron Ramsey left in tears as he bid Arsenal goodbye

Aaron Ramsey said a very emotional goodbye to Arsenal fans on Sunday after the final home match of his successful 11-year spell at the club.

Ramsey, alongside the departing Petr Cech and Danny Welbeck, was given a guard of honour at the Emirates following the 1-1 Premier League stalemate with Brighton, which has all but ended their top-four hopes.

Welbeck and Cech were given a very warm reception by the Arsenal faithful but it was Ramsey’s introduction that sparked an emotional outpouring from both player and fans alike.

Ramsey couldn't control his emotions after the final home game of his 11-year spell at the club

Ramsey, who joined the club as a 17-year-old prodigy from Cardiff, was left in tears as the Arsenal faithful celebrated his brilliant career ahead of his free transfer to Juventus this summer.

And after he received a standing ovation, Ramsey struggled to control his emotions as he reflected on his long journey in north London, which saw him overcome an horrific leg-break before scoring two FA Cup-winning goals.

Ramsey told Sky Sports: ‘It’s very emotional. It’s been a hell of a journey and 11 years of my life. So much has happened and you can tell by my voice how much it means to me. I’m just grateful for the opportunity to play for this great club.

‘I’ve spent 11 years here, came here at 17 years old, a boy, I’m really leaving a man. I’ve got a family, my wife, my kids, so much has happened.

‘I’m really excited about the new challenge, for the new chapter, but today it’s all about this. This is where I grew up, I just want to take this in today and let it settle for a few days before I can look forward and focus on (Juventus).’

Ramsey wrote himself into Arsenal’s history books when he ended the club’s nine-year trophy drought against Hull in the 2014 FA Cup final.

And the Welshman said that remains his proudest moment in an Arsenal shirt.

When asked about his favourite memory, Ramsey replied: ‘The FA Cup win against Hull, because we had a few years without winning a trophy and I was having a really good season.

Earlier Ramsey watched on against Brighton behind a banner, which read: 'Pride of Wales'

‘I came as a 17 year old, and they (fans) have come on this journey with me. It’s quite unique you spend this amount of time at a club. Many highs, a few lows as well, but they’ve stuck by me.’

Cech, meanwhile, wasn’t just saying goodbye to Arsenal on Sunday but to the Premier League too.

The Arsenal goalkeeper has spent 15 brilliant years at the highest level in England, winning four Premier League titles and one Champions League with Chelsea.

Arsenal striker Danny Welbeck also appeared to say his goodbyes at the Emirates

The departure of Ramsey, Cech and Welbeck will come as a big blow to Arsenal as they go in search of leaders this summer to help them return to the Premier League top four.

Cech has spent a hugely-successful 15 years in the top flight with both Arsenal and Chelsea

-Dailymail

Arsenal and Man United’s European dream over after disastrous draws

Manchester United will have to settle for Europa League football next season after being held by a Huddersfield side who were relegated in March.

The Terriers had managed just four points in their previous 23 games but they earned a draw as Isaac Mbenza’s first goal for the club leveled Scott McTominay’s first-half effort.

They would not have tolerated this from Jose Mourinho or Louis van Gaal. They certainly would not have taken it from David Moyes’ Manchester United. So how long will they stomach it from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer?

Suffice to say that if the current United manager does not start next season well, then judgment may come earlier than he ever could have imagined.

This was paupers’ football from Solskjaer’s United team, football devoid of imagination and fluency. Solskjaer’s United, the one that started so vividly under him in winter, has been steadily regressing for weeks and we would call this rock bottom, if we were remotely convinced they couldn’t get any worse.

Meanwhile Arsenal’s hopes of a top-four Premier League finish are all but over after the lackluster hosts were held to a one all draw by Brighton.

The Gunners are three points behind Tottenham in fourth with one game to play but would need an eight-goal swing, as well as results going their way, to overtake their rivals.

Life after Arsene Wenger was never going to be easy. There were no guarantees the end of an era would bring the best of times rolling back to Arsenal.

But on Sunday evening, as glum-looking players trudged around a sparsely-populated Emirates Stadium to offer their appreciation after the final home game of the first post-Wenger campaign, this felt like a club lost at sea.

Vital connections have been frayed since absent owner Stan Kroenke completed his takeover last year and wiped out the minority shareholders amid far-reaching change behind the scenes.

Elsewhere, Chelsea secured their place in the Champions League next season with three nil victory over Watford at Stamford Bridge.

-Dailymail

Lavin Asego tears Dj Joe Mfalme apart for trolling Arsenal fans

Former Kenya Sevens player, Lavin Asego set Twitter on fire after he tore his friend, DJ Joe Mfalme for trolling Arsenal fans.

This came during Arsenal’s match against Wolves on Wednesday night where the Gunners were mauled 3-1 but were already three goals down by half time.

‘I thought your brain is bigger than your mouth,’ KOT bash Khalwale for making fun of Raila

At the same time, there was a mouth watering Manchester derby pitying title contenders, Manchester City and the struggling Manchester United.

DJ Mfalme decided to take a jibe at the angry Arsenal lot, claiming that they were not watching the real football and that they should switch channels and watch the derby.

He posted:

Watu wa Arsenal there’s real football being played on supersport 3 😂

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That did not go down well with Mr. Asego an ardent Arsenal follower who decided to take aim at his deejaying career who is Capital FM’s official deejay.

 Asego replied:
And real DJing happens on Homeboyz radio…what’s your point 😒

The tweet lit up Twitter with football fans (Arsenal fans to be exact) lauding Asego’s response.

The tweet has so far garnered over 3,000 retweets and likes.

Check out his tweet below

And real DJing happens on Homeboyz radio…what’s your point 😒 https://t.co/S90kNdnF1r

— Lav (@AsegoLav) April 24, 2019

Check out some of the reactions from Kenyans on Twitter.

Derick: Hahahahahaha Huyu DJ ameskumwa 6ft Under

Bill: Umemwambia huku sio IG In a polite manner.

Calm down hakua serious alikua tu anajoke 😭😭😂😂

Aming’a: I’m late but lemme remind you that no DJ at hbr you can compare with Joe. I am a fan of hbr but I know who Joe is from way back 2009.. listen to his radio active &hitsnothomework mixes at capital fm..trust me no current hbr DJ u can compare him with.

Wolves maul Arsenal as Man City roar at Old Trafford

Manchester City yesterday moved back to the top of the English Premier League with a two nil win over City rivals Manchester United and remain in firm contention of the league title.

A defeat would have meant City are no longer in control of their destiny with Liverpool leading at the top. However after a slow first half, City came back after the break all fired up and scored two quick goals through Bernado Silva and Leroy Sane to condemn United to their second defeat in the league in less than a week.

City are now a point ahead of Liverpool with three games to go against Burnley, Leicester and Brighton. On the other hand, Liverpool will face Huddersfield, Newcastle and Wolves.

Elsewhere Arsenal’s poor form continued as they were trashed 3-1 by Wolves to further jeopardize their chances of finishing in top four.

The latest round of Champions League hot potato left Arsenal nursing severe scorch marks and Unai Emery surely wondering if his players actually want to finish in the top four.

After a weekend when Manchester United, Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal all missed opportunities to seize the initiative, Emery’s team were at it again at Molineux. They lost for a second time in four days and this time in truly chastening style.

Arsenal displayed some of their worst traits to prompt concern for the run-in, but Wolves deserve huge credit for once more leaving a big club bloodied and bruised.

Diogo Jota put the result beyond doubt by adding Wolves' third goal of the night against Arsenal at the end of the first half

Arsenal cling on against 10-man Watford to move back to top four

Arsenal yesterday moved back to top four in the English Premier League with a one nil win over Watford.

A mistake from Watford goalkeeper Ben Forster allowed Pierre Emerick Aubameyang to deflect the ball in and a minute later Watford were down to ten men after Troy Deeney was sent off for throwing his hand into the face of Lucas Torreira.

The Hornets striker, who infamously claimed Arsenal ‘lacked cojones’ last season after Watford beat Arsenal 2-1, appeared to elbow Gunners midfielder Lucas Torreira as he made a cross-field pass.

Troy Deeney was dismissed 11 minutes into Watford's home clash with Arsenal

The 30-year-old was instantly shown a red card by referee Craig Pawson, much to the amusement of the travelling Arsenal fans.

Speaking after that win in 2017, Deeney said Watford’s physicality meant they overcame Arsene Wenger’s side to win 2-1 in a Premier League match.

‘There’s a reason why they lost and it wasn’t because of one penalty,’ Deeney said. ‘I’ll have to watch what I say. It’s (having) a bit of cojones, a bit of nuts. Whenever I play Arsenal, I’ll go up and think, “Let me whack the first one and see who wants it”.

He took off his shirt as he left the field and exchanged words with Arsenal boss Unai Emery

Watford pressed for equalizer despite being reduced to ten men but the Gunners held on to claim all the three points to move to fourth place.

-Dailymail

Europa: Arsenal and Chelsea draw first blood in wins over Napoli and Prague

Arsenal scored two early goals to beat Napoli 2-0 in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final at the Emirates last night.

Aaron Ramsey finished off a slick passing move in the 14th minute before Kalidou Koulibaly scored an own goal when he deflected Lucas Torreira’s shot past goalkeeper Alex Meret.

Midfielder Aaron Ramsey put the finishing touches on a slick team move to put Arsenal ahead after just 15 minutes

Arsenal completed their 11th home victory in 12 outings against Napoli to put themselves firmly on course for the Europa League semi finals courtesy of goals from Aaron Ramsey and Lucas Torreira.

When the Emirates opened its doors for the first time in 2006, this is exactly what Arsene Wenger had in mind. A stadium the envy of Europe – but a place rival clubs detested coming to knowing they’d get beaten.

Unai Emery called on his players to embrace the pressure of trying to reclaim Arsenal’s place back at European top table. Returning to the Champions League remains the be-all-and-end-all for Emery’s side this season – Thursday night representing a good opportunity to take a significant step towards that goal.Torreira ran to the Arsenal bench to retrieve a T shirt that paid tribute to a close friend from home in Uruguay who died

Given the Gunners’ horrendous away form – the club have won just twice on the road since December – the onus was on the home side to not only win, but convincing

Meanwhile, Marcos Alonso’s late header handed Chelsea a narrow 1-0 victory away to Slavia Prague.

Marcos Alonso headed in with only four minutes remaining to seal victory and give Chelsea the advantage in this tie

Elsewhere, Benfica beat Frankfurt 4-2, while visiting Valencia beat Villareal 3-1 in an all-Spanish affair.

Jagielka the hero as Everton dents Arsenal’s top four hopes

Arsenal’s hopes of a top-four finish in the Premier League were dented yesterday as Everton captain Phil Jagielka took advantage of an unexpected late recall to score the winner in a dominant 1-0 victory at Goodison Park.

The veteran defender, who was brought into the team for a rare appearance after Michael Keane had to withdraw in the warm-up through illness, scored after 10 minutes to earn his side a well-deserved third straight league win.

It marked a significant setback for disappointing Arsenal, who remain fourth in the table but missed an opportunity to leap ahead of their third-placed north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur.

Unai Emery’s side stay on 63 points, one behind Spurs, level with fifth-placed Chelsea and two clear of Manchester United in an increasingly tight battle for the Champions League berths.

The experienced Jagielka proved Everton’s unlikely hero after his late call-up, becoming the oldest goalscorer in the league this season at 36 years 233 days when he poked home his finish after Arsenal failed to clear Lucas Digne’s long throw.

The ball had fallen kindly after Dominic Calvert-Lewin got the final touch on to him in the aerial battle, allowing Jagielka to score his first league goal in two years and become Everton’s second-oldest marksman in the Premier League era.

“I’m not normally a match-winner, full stop,” laughed the former England defender on Sky Sports. “They’re the best goals, the little tap-ins from two or three yards.”

His goal signalled a hungry and aggressive display from Everton who, while moving up to ninth on 46 points, could have won far more convincingly if Gylfi Sigurdsson and Richarlison had converted any of the side’s 23 attempts on goal.

“We got one goal but could have scored a few more,” added Jagielka.

He earned special praise from delighted Everton manager Marco Silva, who told the BBC: “He was to start on the bench, but showed how he is a good professional and prepares himself for what the coach and team needs. He is always ready to help the team.”

Arsenal, who have conceded at least one goal in every league away match this season, came closest with one curling second-half effort from Henrikh Mkhitaryan but were outplayed and outfought by Silva’s team.

They had only two attempts on target in the whole match and, with Mesut Ozil failing to offer much inspiration as captain for the day, endured one of their more frustrating lacklustre away days. Arsenal’s frustration became obvious when the two managers were involved in a brief confrontation in the second half.

“The football is emotional. He wants the best for his team, I want the best for mine. At the end we spoke together and everything is normal,” said Silva.

Arsenal boss Emery felt his team would have to rebound swiftly as they prepared to face Napoli in a Europa League quarter-final first leg on Thursday.

“It was not a good result today but we are still fourth,” said the Spaniard. “We lost and we need to get up quickly and find the next step.”

 

Ramsey and Lacazette fire Arsenal to third on the table

Aaron Ramsey and Alexandre Lacazette strikes in either side of half-time saw Arsenal beat Newcastle 2-0 at Emirates Stadium, to move above Manchester United and north London rivals Tottenham to third place in the Premier League.

The result also saw the gunners register a tenth successive home league victory,  equaling Arsene Wenger’s record in his full managerial campaign during the 1997-98 season.

Ramsey (2nd right) is congratulated by his Arsenal team-mates after breaking the deadlock in the 30th minute of the match

Power shift? What power shift. For two seasons Arsenal supporters have endured Tottenham fans rubbing their faces in it.

For two seasons, they’ve been slapped down, told their days as north London’s top dogs were numbered.

Mauricio Pochettino’s trailblazing side had apparently ended Arsenal’s dominance – and what’s more they appeared on course to leave the red half of north London scampering in their wake for the foreseeable future.

But for now, whatever gap Tottenham believed they’d built over the Gunners has been wiped out in less than a season by Emery.

The level of the Spaniard’s impact since his arrival has been accentuated by the fact Arsenal have amassed as many points as Arsene Wenger did in his final season at the club. Arsenal are finally moving in an upward trajectory.

Winning their first game at the new White Hart Lane against Crystal Palace on Wednesday takes on even more significance for Tottenham now.

Ramsey (centre) receives treatment before having to be substituted due to injury midway through the second half

Yet again, despite their delight in watching Arsenal take the lead, home fans were left to question why the Gunners let Ramsey’s contractual situation drag on so long that the midfielder has decided to join Juvetnus on a free transfer in the summer.

For a football club that’s been so poorly financially mis-managed in recent seasons – the Ramsey debacle appears the biggest error of the lot.

His importance to Emery’s side is unquestionable. Replacing Ramsey will not be easy – but certainly expensive.

-Dailymail

UEL Quarters: Arsenal to face Napoli as Chelsea tie against Slavia Prague

Chelsea and Arsenal have both avoided each other in the Europa League quarter-final draw with the Gunners being handed a tough last eight clash with Napoli.

Maurizio Sarri’s side, who are still unbeaten in this season’s competition, were awarded a favourable tie against Slavia Prague at the ceremony in Nyon.

There will be an all Spanish quarter-final draw against Villarreal and Valencia while Benfica and Frankfurt will go head to head for a place in the semi-finals of the competition.

Arsenal will face Napoli in the Europa League quarter-finals while Chelsea play Slavia Prague

The first legs will be played on April 11, with the second legs on April 18.

Chelsea will play the first leg at home first because both they and Arsenal cannot play in London on the same evening.

Should Unai Emery’s men make it through to the semi-finals of the competition, they will come up against the winner of Valencia and Villarreal while also being afforded a home game in the first leg of the last-four encounter.

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The winner of Chelsea and Slavia Prague’s match will face either Frankfurt or Benfica over two legs for a place in the final.

Arsenal have won their only previous home game against Napoli in European competition, where they beat the Serie A side 2-0 in the 2013-14 Champions League campaign, with Mesut Ozil directly involved in both goals.

The German playmaker scored one and assisted the other in that match at the Emirates.

Meanwhile, the Blues, who haven’t lost in this season’s Europa League campaign, are unbeaten in their previous six games against Czech opponents in European competition, having won three and drawn three, while also managing to keep a clean sheet in four of the last five.

EUROPA LEAGUE DRAW

QUARTER-FINAL DRAW

Napoli vs Arsenal

Villarreal vs Valencia

Benfica vs Frankfurt

Slavia Prague vs Chelsea

The first legs will be played on April 11 with the second legs being played on April 18.

SEMI-FINAL DRAW

Napoli/Arsenal vs Villarreal/Valencia

Benfica/Frankfurt vs Slavia Prague/Chelsea

-Dailymail