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Wednesday evening represents the final shot for Arsenal to seal their place in the Champions League for the next campaign. The Europa League has proved to be a gateway to the top table of European football in recent seasons, and this is no different for the Gunners heading into the final at the Baku Olympic Stadium. Two years away from the Champions League has undoubtedly had an effect on the Gunners and their ability to compete financially with their top six rivals.
Over the last few weeks, Arsenal has prioritized progression to the final dropping points along the way in the league. Having had a chance of reaching the top four, that faded as three defeats from their final five league games confirmed a fifth-placed finish.
The Europa League, on the other hand, has been a different story, as Emery has guided his side past some of the bigger names left in the competition to reach the Baku final. Composure was shown away against Napoli, with a solitary Lacazette goal enough to put the tie beyond the reach of the Italians who finished second in the league this season.
Whilst Arsenal showed their attacking ruthlessness in the semi-final against Valencia. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored a hat-trick at the Mestalla to outgun the Copa Del Ray winners 7-3 on aggregate.
In Unai Emery, Arsenal has one of the most successful coaches in the Europa League history. Thanks to his three titles with Sevilla from 2013 to 2016. A hallmark of the Spaniard’s success in the tournament down the years has been his tactical flexibility, and the ability to change up his side to address specific threats posed by his opposition.
This certainly could be the ace in the hole of the Gunners who are expected to play an attacking formation with both Lacazette & Emerick Aubameyang leading the line.
Victory in Baku has wider implications for the club in terms of additional revenue and the calibre of player they can attract. Arsenal fans will certainly be hoping that Emery can weave his Europa League magic again and win a first European Trophy since the Cup Winners Cup in 1994.