Arsenal made light work of a potentially awkward Europa League quarter-final second leg against Slavia Prague, doing all the hard work in the first 25 minutes as they won 4-0 on the night and 5-1 on aggregate.
Mikel Arteta’s men started in blistering form, with Nicolas Pepe, Alexandre Lacazette and Bukayo Saka scoring within six minutes of each other in a straightforward win. Lacazette added another to his personal tally after the break.
Such an impressive start to the match allowed them to cruise in the closing stages, giving the contest an air that it was more competitive than was the case in reality.
Arsenal will face Villarreal in the last four.
✔️ Rob Holding: 7.3
With the forwards having done the difficult work in the early stages of the match, it was a personal test for Arsenal whether they were able to keep a clean sheet. And they were.
Across a makeshift backline that saw Granit Xhaka again fill in at left-back and Calum Chambers feature on the right, the Gunners never looked concerned.
Holding was the outstanding figure among this crowd.
✔️ Emile Smith Rowe: 7.1
Since Martin Odegaard elbowed him into a wide role, Smith Rowe’s form has not been quite the same as it was around the turn of the year, yet back in the No.10 slot, he was back towards his best in this game.
Unfortunate to see an early goal disallowed for what was a marginal offside call but was unperturbed by this state of events and quickly set up the opener with a lovely double nutmeg.
Taken off after 67 minutes to preserve his energy.
⭐ Alexandre Lacazette: 7.7
With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in hospital being treated for malaria, the striker stepped up impressively in the Gabon international’s absence.
His two goals were his chief contribution, firing Arsenal’s second home from the penalty spot to drive a dagger into the heart of a jittery Slavia Prague side early in the match.
When Lacazette added to his tally midway through the second half, he did so with a calmly taken finish from a Nicolas Pepe – yet another player to impressive – square pass.