Unai Emery deserves a statue if he wins Europa League with shambolic Arsenal defence

The Gunners’ backline is aimless and shapeless and they are lucky Valencia could only manage one away goal at the Emirates

Classic thoroughbreds up front, pantomime horses at the back.

Unai Emery has performed some feat to get this Arsenal team within touching distance of the Europa League Final with a defence so shambolic.

If he wins the thing the club should build him a statue on top of his bonus.

Aimless, shapeless and unable to smell danger, the Arsenal pantomime horse would have gifted Valencia their away goal even earlier than they did had Ezequiel Garay not lost his composure with the goal at his mercy.

French defender Mouctar Diakhaby had scored just twice before this contest. His last goal was in a 3-0 home win in La Liga over Villareal. He was able to pick his spot in the 12th minute here with the minimum of fuss.

Diakhaby opens the scoring for Valencia (Image: Shaun Botterill)
Arsenal’s Matteo Guendouzi and Mesut Ozil look dejected (Image: Action Images via Reuters)

From a free kick in from the left, Seed Kolasinac allowed Rodrigo to rise above him and head back across goal.

Shkodran Mustafi (we’ll get to him), Sokratis Papasthathopoulos and Lauren Koscielny craned their necks watching the ball looping over them. Diakhaby then strolled in to pick his spot. Maybe zonal marking isn’t for this Arsenal team.

There is no point gushing over the goals. Alexander Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are quality and in a better team with a decent backline, they’d be in the Champions League next season.

Alex Lacazette celebrates with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Image: Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

That defence though is so bad. The last time Arsenal was here the work of Mesut Ozil and Aubameyang was undone by a defensive shambles against Crystal Palace to leave the Gunners’ top-four hopes in jeopardy.

Angry Gooners dismissed Emery’s defence of Mustafi and put together YouTube compilations to illustrate just how awful he has been this season.

Ironically Mustafi wasn’t the worst on this occasion. It is always heart in mouth stuff when you watch him though – and the second leg in Spain next week is still to come.

(This story originally appeared on mirror.co.uk)



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