Arsenal vs Valencia: Team news, likely lineups & predictions

Europa League By: Ikponmwosa Umweni | 01/05/2019

Arsenal have the chance to put their poor domestic form to one side as they welcome Valencia to the Emirates Stadium in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final on Thursday night.

The Gunners were handed the Spanish outfit in the semis after seeing off Napoli 3-0 on aggregate in their impressive quarter-final success but the North London side ended at this same stage last season.

Valencia are currently sixth in La Liga and will certainly pose a threat to the Gunners, who avoided drawing ​Chelsea and Eintracht Frankfurt to face Marcelino García Toral's men.

Team News 

Mesut Ozil missed Arsenal's 3-0 defeat at Leicester with a bruised foot and Unai Emery claimed the German would need to undergo tests on Monday and Tuesday in order to determine his availability for the visit of Valencia.

It remains to be seen if Nacho Monreal will be fit after a calf problem, while Juventus-bound Aaron Ramsey remains sidelined with a hamstring injury.

Barcelona loanee Denis Suarez has been suffering from a persistent groin injury and the trio of Rob Holding, Hector Bellerin (both knee) and Danny Welbeck (ankle) are long-term absentees.

Arsenal are likely to come up against two familiar faces in Gabriel Paulista and Francis Coquelin, while Emery managed Valencia between 2008-12.

Geoffrey Kondogbia is missing for Valencia with a thigh injury sustained in early April, with Denis Cheryshev still out with a stretched ligament.

Francis Coquelin will miss out on a return to his former club after picking up his third booking of the season in the quarter final against Villarreal.

Head to Head

Arsenal have faced Valencia on five previous occasions in all competitions, winning just once - a Champions League quarter-final first leg in 2000-01, only to be eliminated on away goals.

Los Che have won two of their last three meetings with Arsenal, winning the most recent encounter 2-1 at Mestalla in a Champions League group match 16 years ago.

The Gunners have won only ten of their 33 UEFA fixtures against Spanish opposition, while Valencia's only previous European semi-final against an English club resulted in a 3-0 aggregate victory against Leeds United in the 2000-01 Champions League.

Recent Form

Arsenal are barely clinging on to their top four hopes in the ​Premier League after losing three consecutive games, conceding nine goals in the process.

Emery's men lost back-to-back league games for the first time since the opening two matches of the season when they lost to Crystal Palace and Wolves respectively, before crumbling at Leicester on Sunday.

Valencia are firmly in the race for a top four finish in ​La Liga with some strong showings of late. Four successive wins, including their 5-1 aggregate success over ​Villarreal was followed by narrow defeats to Atletico Madrid and Eibar.

Arsenal possible starting lineup: Cech; Sokratis, Koscielny, Monreal; Maitland-Niles, Xhaka, Torreira, Kolasinac; Ozil; Lacazette, Aubameyang

Valencia possible starting lineup: Neto; Wass, Garay, Paulista, Gaya; Torres, Soler, Parejo, Guedes; Moreno, Mina

Score prediction: Arsenal 2-1 Valencia