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Defensive errors and wastefulness cost Arsenal first-leg victory against Slavia Prague

Arsenal were held to a 1-1 draw by Slavia Prague at the Emirates
Arsenal were held to a 1-1 draw by Slavia Prague at the Emirates
Modified 09 Apr 2021

Arsenal’s dream of reaching the semi-finals of the Europa League hit a snag when they were held to a 1-1 draw in the quarter-final first leg by Slavia Prague.

The Gunners were far from their best but a combination of wastefulness in front of goal and some questionable defending allowed the visitors to snatch a draw.

After a cagey first half which picked up a little pace in the second half, the Emirates finally came alive in the 86th minute when substitute Nicolas Pepe opened the scoring for Arsenal.

However, the Gunners could not hold on to their lead, with Tomas Holes scoring the equalizer with only a minute left to play.

Arsenal woeful in defence and attack

Mikel Arteta could not hide his frustration after his side once again threw away a lead. The Spaniard had promised a better performance following last week’s 3-0 thrashing at the hands of Liverpool.

And while Arsenal were better against Slavia Prague, their performance still wasn’t enough. The Gunners created several chances but failed to convert them.

The biggest of them fell to Alexandre Lacazette, who fired a curling effort against the post when put through on goal. But it was yet another defensive lapse that cost Arsenal the win.

Having taken the lead with just four minutes to go, the Gunners should have been able to see out the game. Instead, the defenders gave away a cheap corner-kick which eventually led to Slavia Prague’s equalizer.


Arsenal’s defense continues to be a source of worry, giving away cheap goals each week. The Gunners have now failed to keep a clean sheet in any of their last 13 matches in all competitions.

They currently look like a team that cannot score, yet are giving away cheap goals and the signs do not look good ahead of the second leg.

Slavia Prague’s fairytale with British clubs continues

Meanwhile, Slavia Prague are beginning to create a name for themselves in the UK. The Czech Republican side appear to enjoy playing against British and Scottish teams.

First, they eliminated Leicester City from the Europa League and followed it up by also kicking Rangers out of the competition. They are now on the verge of doing the same with Arsenal after their impressive result in the first leg.

"We have a very promising result for the second leg and we have a chance to finish the job at home,” Slavia manager Jindrich Trpisovsky told after the game.
“Arsenal will have to score a goal, and we will have to avoid conceding goals like tonight after our own set piece. Our defensive display will have to be free of any mistakes."

Arteta was adamant that his side were in control of the game, but the truth is that Slavia Prague had the Gunners playing exactly how they wanted. The plan of the visitors worked to perfection and they would be relishing their chances – against another British team – in the second leg.

Published 09 Apr 2021, 11:01 IST
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