Aubameyang double inspires Arsenal to reach Europa League quarter-finals

Arsenal 3 Rennes 0 (4-3 on agg)
Aubameyang 5, 72, Maitland-Niles 15

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s double inspired Arsenal to a 3-0 win over Rennes in their Europa League second leg at the Emirates. Trailing 3-1 going into this tie, Aubameyang struck within five minutes, and then provided the assist for Ainsley-Maitland Niles header after 15 minutes. The scores were then level going into the break, however, Aubameyang went through the gears after some good build up play from Aaron Ramsey and Sead Kolasinac to tap in from the latter’s cross. The Gunners held onto their one goal advantage although the Ligue 1 side did show some aggression. Alexandre Lacazette seemed to be targeted, but Unai Emery replaced him late on in the second half. That was the cool head needed on a night when Arsenal showed a steely side to their game to progress to the last eight of the competition.

Xhaka and Aubameyang strike to inflict first defeat on Solskjaer’s United

Arsenal 2 Manchester United 0
Xhaka 12, Aubameyang, (pen) 69

Granit Xhaka and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang struck either side of the break to inflict a first Premier League defeat on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United. Xhaka received Alexandre Lacazette’s pass on the right of the United defence. As they backed off, the Switzerland midfielder let fly from 20 yards. David De Gea seemed to have the ball covered, that was until it took a vicious change of direction to beat the Spain keeper for the opener. Romelu Lukaku hit the bar with the score at 0-0, with Fred hitting the post. Berne Leno denied Lukaku as he tried to round the Germany keeper. The Gunners doubled their lead after Lacazette was bundled over in the area by Fred. Referee Jon Moss pointed to the penalty spot, and up stepped Aubameyang. Having missed from 12 yards in the north London derby, the Gabon striker made no mistake this time to give Arsenal the win that takes them above United into fourth place in the table.

Rennes stun ten man Arsenal with Europa League win in France

Rennes 3 Arsenal 1
Bourigeaud 42, Monreal og, 65, Sarr 88, Iwobi 3

Rennes stunned Arsenal with a Europa League 3-1 win in France. It is the first time French opposition got the better of the Gunners who took the lead with Alex Iwobi’s opener after three minutes. Arsenal looked comfortable until Sokratis was given his second yellow card on 41 minutes and from that moment on, the visitors were up against it. Benjamin Bourigeaud struck from the resultant free kick, beating Petr Cech to the top right hand corner after his initial effort had been blocked by the wall. Former Newcastle United midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa was pulling the strings for Rennes who exposed the depleted Gunners’ rearguard. Henrikh Mkhitaryan was never going to be an effective right back however, and the home side took the lead when Nacho Monreal got the last touch on a cross which flew past Cech. As Arsenal went looking to level, they were hit with a quick counter, resulting in Ismaila Sarr’s diving header to leave Arsenal two goals adrift going into next Thursday’s return leg at the Emirates.

Arsenal and Spurs share the North London derby spoils

Tottenham Hotspur 1 Arsenal 1
Kane 74 pen Ramsey 16

Arsenal and Spurs shared the north London derby spoils after a highly charged and controversial affair at Wembley. Aaron Ramsey gave the Gunners a first half lead after a smart run and low shot beyond Hugo Lloris. The Gunners held onto the lead until late in the second half, when Spurs were awarded a controversial penalty. Christian Eriksen floated in a free kick and Harry Kane was bundled over by Shkodran Mustafi in the area. Replays of the free kick showed a line of white shirts clearly offside, but Kane scored from the resultant spot kick. With time running out, Arsenal had a penalty of their own. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was adjudged to have been fouled by Davinson Sanchez. Referee Anthony Taylor pointed to the spot, and up stepped the Gabon striker only to see his spot kick saved by Lloris. Further controversy in the 95th minutes when Lucas Torreira’ made a studs up challenge on Danny Rose earning him a red card. That proved to be the last real action of a thorough contest and one after which neither side will be happy with just a point.

Five star Arsenal gun down Bournemouth

Arsenal 5 Bournemouth 1
Ozil 4, Mkhitaryan 27, Koscielny 47, Aubameyang 59, Lacazette 78, Mousset 30

Arsenal turned on the style in a five star performance to gun down Bournemouth at the Emirates. Five goals and five different scorers in a thoroughly satisfying night for the Gunners. Mesut Ozil and Henrikh Mkhitaryan gave Arsenal a two goal lead after 27 minutes, and more first half Gunners’s goals were on the cards. The next goal however came from Lys Mousset to make it 2-1 at the break. Two minutes after the re-start, Laurent Koscielny’s ball had crossed the line despite Artur Boruc clawing the ball out, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang rifled it in just to be sure. The Gabon striker then scored the goal of the night, outpacing two defenders from Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s pass to round Boruc and slot home. Alexandre Lacazette then came off the bench and curled a beautiful strike from a free kick for Arsenal’s fifth goal on a night when Unai Emery’s men delivered one of their best performances since his arrival in north London.

Lacazette and Mkhitaryan goals see off Southampton

Arsenal 2 Southampton 0
Lacazette 6, Mkhitaryan 17

Arsenal eased past struggling Southampton with two first half goals from Alexandre Lacazette and Henrikh Mkhitaryan to claim fourth place in the Premier League following Manchester United and Liverpool’s 0-0 draw at Old Trafford. The Gunners also took full advantage over Chelsea who were in Carabao Cup final action against Manchester City and climbed above their rivals in the race for the Champions League spots. The Saints did cause the Arsenal rearguard moments of concern and could have taken the lead through chances falling to Matt Targett and Nathan Redmond, the latter forcing Bernd Leno to make a low first half save. Dominant in attack, Lacazette could have grabbed a first half hat-trick. One effort seemed easier to score after a strong run from Sead Kolasinac. With Angus Gunn beaten, the France striker struck high over the bar.

Arsenal ease into Europa League last 16 with win over BATE Borisov

Arsenal 3 BATE Borisov 0 (3-1 on agg)
Volkov 4 og, Mustafi 39, Sokratis, 60

Arsenal eased into the Europa League last 16 with a comfortable win over Belarus champions BATE Borisov. Trailing 1-0 from the first leg, the Gunners took the lead on the night after just four minutes in which they had as many chances on their opponents goal. When Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang sped past his marker, his low cross was deflected past his own keeper by Zakhar Volkov for Arsenal to finally register in this tie. They doubled their lead on the night when Shkodran Mustafi powered in a header six minutes from the break. Substitute Sokrtais who Unai Emery later explained was introduced as a precaution after Laurent Koscielny felt an ankle niggle, headed in Arsenal’s third and that seemed to knock the wind out of the Borisov sails. The visitors did have chances, the best falling to Stanislav Dragun with the score at 1-0. Stephan Lichsteiner was on the goal line to make the clearance.

Lacazette sent off as Arsenal lose to BATE Borisov

BATE Borisov 1 Arsenal 0
Dragun 45

Arsenal were reduced to ten men when Alexandre Lacazette was shown a straight red card for elbowing Aleksandar Filipovic five minutes from full time. By then, the Gunners had endured a horror show of a performance to leave Belarus a goal down in their Europa League first leg last 32 tie. The Gunners enjoyed seventy seven percent of the possession, but it was a Stanislav Dragun header on the stroke of half time which proved to be the undoing of Unai Emery’s side. Igor Stasevich floated in a free kick which Sead Kolasinac failed to respond to, allowed Dragun time to powerfully head past Petr Cech. The Gunners could and should have been ahead after 90 seconds. Kolasinac’s cross for the advanced Henrickh Mkhitaryan was met first time by the Armenian, but Denis Scherbitski got down well to make the save. The theme continued with both Kolasinac and Alex Iwobi tormenting Borisov from the left, but there was little in the way of penetration and the home side realised that they could sit back and contain the Gunners apparent sole form of attack. Former Gunner Alex Hleb started and played for 58 minutes, the 37 year old apparently came back for another season with Borisov, once he knew that there would be two Europa League games against his former club. Borisov are in their pre-season, but they demonstrated little in the way of ring rust and in the end achieved their first home win over an English side.

Arsenal secure rare Premier League away win at Huddersfield in pursuit of top four finish

Huddersfield Town 1 Arsenal 2
Kolasinac og 93, Iwobi 16, Lacazette 44

Arsenal’s secured their first away win since November with a challenging 2-1 win at Huddersfield. First half strikes from Alex Iwobi and Alexandre Lacazette ensured the Gunners looked comfortable. A rare clean sheet was on the cards until injury time when Sean Kolasinac got the last touch in an attempted clearance to inadvertently steer the ball past Bernd Leno. Kolasinac’s left wing run and cross set up Iwobi to control and shoot for the game’s opener. Laurent Koscielny’s clearance saw the home side appeal for a penalty as the ball appeared to catch his arm. The Gunners survived that scare to double their lead a minute before the break. Some good work from Henrikh Mkhitaryan as he fed to ball to Ainsley Maitland-Niles on the right. His cross was briskly struck in first time by Lacazette for his 12th goal of the season. When Huddersfield halved the deficit deep into stoppage time, Arsenal agonisingly relinquished the opportunity to claim a clean sheet, however they held on for a crucial win which following Chelsea’s 6-0 thrashing at Manchester City meant that the Gunners moved into fifth place above the Blues.

Aguero treble gives City win over Arsenal

Manchester City 1 Arsenal 3
Aguero 1, 44, 61, Koscielny 11

Sergio Aguero struck his 14th hat-trick for Manchester City as the hosts saw off Arsenal at the Etihad stadium. The Argentine was on target after just 50 seconds when the Arsenal defence dithered in clearing their lines. Alex Iwobi should have launched the ball into row Z, but having lost possession to Aymeric Laporte, his cross fell right for Aguero to head past Bernd Leno. Despite being under pressure for large parts on the opening exchanges, Arsenal levelled through captain Laurent Koscielny who headed in from Nacho Monreal’s flick on from Lucas Torreira’s corner. If that was a re-working of the famous old Tony Adams, Steve Bould routine which served the Gunners so well in the recent past. Sadly the modern day defending was a more of a horror show of an affair compared to what these former Gunners legends were used to producing. City re-gained the lead just before the break when Ilkay Gundogan’s floated ball found Raheem Sterling in space. The England man crossed and Aguero had a simple tap in. His hat-trick was completed in fortuitous circumstances, the ball coming off him arm from yet another Sterling cross as it went past the despairing dive and tumble of Bernd Leno and Koscielny respectively.