A late goal from Alexandre Lacazette was enough to take a 1-0 lead into next week’s second leg from tonight’s game in Greece.
There were surprises galore when Arteta revealed the starting line up, none more surprising that our first choice keeper being picked ahead of Emiliano Martinez. Aubameyang, Luiz, Mustafi all first team regular starters in the league were called up for action from the off alongside youngster Saka, Willock and Martinelli.
Guendouzi also returned after an alleged ‘bust-up’ at the club’s two week training camp in Dubai, and played well mopping things up in midfield.
A largely dull game, saw half chances at both ends, with Aubameyang going close in the first half and Leno making saves all game to keep the score at 0-0.
We ran the gauntlet at times, but the boys held their nerve and struck with ten minutes left to edge in front of the Greek side, courtesy of Lacazette’s winner.
As it looked like the game was heading for a 0-0 draw, Aubameyang chased down, and kept in a lost cause down the left wing and found the marauding Saka. The youngster squared the ball across the box and found Lacazette with pinpoint accuracy.
The win in Athens, now means if we can avoid defeat at home next week to Olympiacos we can book our place in the last 16 of the competition.
Following tonight’s Europa League action, Arteta has made the decision to fly home tomorrow afternoon from Greece to maximise recovery time ahead of our home game against Everton on Sunday.
We then have the second leg next Thursday evening, a weekend off and then we travel to Portsmouth for an exciting FA Cup tie on the south coast.