5 TALKING POINTS! Arsenal 4-1 CSKA Moscow: Lacazette And Ramsey Braces Put Gunners On Course For Semi-Finals
Arsenal put one foot in the Europa League semi-finals after a first half mauling of CSKA Moscow.
Alexandre Lacazette and Aaron Ramsey both notched first half braces, with Golovin temporarily keeping the Russians in the tie with a thunderous free kick.
The Welshman got the ball rolling in the ninth minute as he slotted home after a centre from Hector Bellerin.
Lacazette doubled the Gunners’ advantage from the penalty spot, after Mesut Ozil had been sent tumbling.
Midfielder Ramsey then pulled off a sublime back heel volley to lob the keeper before Lacazette fired in a fourth ten minutes before the break.
Here are 5 talking points…
The fascinating thing about the Arsenal is that, playing like this, they are a match for anyone left in the Europa League.
Defending like this, however, they could go out to anyone too.
That said, you have to fancy Arsenal’s chances of winning the Europa League don’t you? Arsene Wenger has always seemed to pull a rabbit out of the hat with his back against the wall in recent seasons.
Victory in this competition – and a route back into the Champions League would be his biggest and best yet.
Another game, another statement of discontent from the supporters who have simply had enough.
On this occasion they missed out with Arsenal slicing through the CSKA defence like a hot knife through butter.
Barring a similarly extraordinary second leg the Gunners are as good as through to the semi-finals.
Maybe then stayaways might blink first. It would take some resolve to pass up the prospect of a European night that big. Especially with Arsenal playing this well.
He smashed a belter of a free kick and looks a tidy little player on the ball.
No wonder then that the Russian reporters bombarded Arsene Wenger with questions about him during the pre-match press conference.
The 21-year-old is a potential star of their national team.
At just £10m he’d be a snip. The Arsenal boss wouldn’t bite out of respect for the Russians. His restraint has simply fired up the rumour mill.
The only thing is, Arsenal have been there and done that as far as diminutive little midfielders are concerned. Do they really need another one?
You just wonder whether Arsenal could rue their attempts to walk the ball into the net here when they were clearly a class above their Russian visitors.
Substitute Alex Iwobi chose to pass when he should have shot and Lacazette spurned the chance served up to him on a plate.
Ozil blew a first half sitter and, on another night Henrikh Mkhitaryan would have filled his boots. It’s a good job they’ve built up such a healthy cushion.
After just nine minutes he drew first blood. Just shy of the half hour – Rambo: First Blood Part 2.
With 13 minutes he hit the post when he should have grabbed a deserved hat-trick. What on earth are Arsenal doing not tying him down to the new deal he wants to stay at the club?
This game was yet another example of the quality – and the confidence that the Welshman exudes playing through the middle. It is little wonder that a number of clubs are monitoring his contract situation.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain looks a different player at Liverpool with regular first-team action in his favoured position. Arsenal know what they’d be losing with Ramsey.
They simply cannot allow him to slip through their fingers.