Match Preview: Slavia Prague vs. Arsenal - prediction, team news, lineups

Preview: Slavia Prague vs. Arsenal - prediction, team news, lineups

Arsenal will try to hold their European hopes alive when they fly to Slavia Prague on Thursday evening for the second leg of their Europa League quarter-final clash.

After Nicolas Pepe's late opener, the Gunners were minutes away from winning a 1-0 first-leg lead, but Tomas Holes dashed home at the death to salvage a 1-1 draw and a priceless away goal for Slavia.

Mikel Arteta's side squandered numerous chances to put the tie to bed in the first leg, a sight that Arsenal fans have been forced to witness time and time again this season.

Substitutes Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Nicolas Pepe combined in the 86th minute to give Arsenal the lead at the Emirates Stadium.


Slavia defender Holes scrambled home at the back post after Arteta's side gave away a corner in the fourth minute of added time to ensure that the spoils were shared in the first leg, as Arsenal's agonizing wait for a clean sheet continued.

Jindrich Trpisovsky's men were treated to scenes of unbridled delirium in the English capital, and Slavia was able to take the momentum into the Prague derby against Sparta Prague, thanks to strikes from Holes and others. On Sunday, and Stanislav Tecl led the undefeated leaders to a 2-0 victory.

Trpisovsky's side has now gone 23 games without losing in all competitions, and they have yet to lose at home this season, winning 11 and drawing two of their last 13 at home, despite the fact that the only teams to prevent Slavia from winning on their own turf were Leicester City and Rangers in the previous rounds of the Europa League.

READ MORE: Mikel Arteta has sent a new message to Arsenal supporters about Gabriel Martinelli.

Slavia defeated both British giants in the semi-finals of a European competition for the first time since the 1995-96 season, and this week's hosts have only failed to score twice at home all season, so Arteta and his depleted attack must show the clinical edge that was missing in the first leg if they are to progress.

Preview: Slavia Prague vs. Arsenal - prediction, team news, lineups

Mikel Arteta has reminded his Arsenal players that they have a "responsibility" to qualify for Europe, but the Gunners' hopes of a 25th consecutive season on the continent are on a knife's edge after a heartbreaking first-leg defeat.

The Gunners just had themselves to blame after Aubameyang, Bukayo Saka, and Alexandre Lacazette all missed glorious chances to make the net ripple, but a comfortable 3-0 Premier League victory over bottom-of-the-table Sheffield United ensured the alarm would not be pressed just yet.

In the absence of Aubameyang, Lacazette rediscovered his goalscoring touch with a brace at Bramall Lane, taking him to 50 top-flight goals in English football, and teenage starlet Gabriel Martinelli seized his chance with both hands as Arsenal ended their Sheffield hoodoo in dominant fashion.

With that win, Arsenal ended a four-game losing streak and kept a clean sheet for the first time in 14 games. However, Arsenal's chances of qualifying for Europe via their league position are still slim, so Arteta's side must do what no other team has been able to do this season: beat Slavia Prague on their own turf.

Preview: Slavia Prague vs. Arsenal - prediction, team news, lineups

Arsenal is undefeated in their last six away games in all competitions, scoring three goals in four of their last five, but with Arteta's injury problems in the final third worsening, the Gunners will need to find imagination and inspiration elsewhere if their hopes of European silverware are to be realized.


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