Arsenal are in a strong position to make it to the Europa League semifinals as they carry a 4-1 lead with them to CSKA Moscow in the second leg on Thursday night.
An all-round first half performance at the Emirates saw Arsenal rush to a 4-1 lead to defend for the next 45 minutes. Aaron Ramsey and Alexandre Lacazette scored twice in the rapid assault, while Aleksandr Golovin netted the consolation goal for the Russians. CSKA are left with a colossal task at their own backyard and I don’t see then topple Wenger’s men on Thursday.
Arsenal are the only English Premier League club left in the Europa League, reached this far by topping their group and then eliminating Swedish club Ostersunds and AC Milan in the previous rounds.
CSKA moved to Europa League knockout phase after finishing third in their Champions League group. They knocked out Red Star Belgrade with a 1-0 aggregate in the round of 32 and then bagged a massive 3-2 away win at Lyon to overturn a 1-0 first leg loss in the round of 16.
Head to head
The 4-1 win in the first leg of the corresponding fixture is Arsenal’s first win over CSKA in their third overall head-to-head meeting.
The previous was in the 2006/07 Champions League group phase. CSKA bagged a 1-0 home win and held the Gunners to a goal-less draw in London.
This mid-week mark Arsenal’s fifth visit to Russia and they are win-less in the previous four, 1 draw and 3 losses.
CSKA have a moderate record against English Premier League clubs at their own backyard, won and drew 2, lost 5 off 9 games.