EUROPA LEAGUE: Remembering Arsenal’s road to Baku
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
Arsenal face Chelsea in the Europa League final tonight, but just how did they get there? Read on to relive their road to Baku.
After a total of 14 matches, in which they scored 29 goals, including a couple of firsts for academy younsters, picked up a pair of red cards and pulled off two come-from-behind wins in the knockout stages, Arsenal head to Baku for the Europa League final.
Head coach Unai Emery won the competition three years in a row while in charge of La Liga side Seville, but must now plot a way past Premier League rivals Chelsea in Azerbaijan to claim his fourth winner's medal and first trophy with the Gunners.
We chart the road to Baku here by looking at Arsenal's progress through the group stage, last 32, last 16, quarter-finals and semi-finals, eclipsing the efforts of Arsene Wenger's side who went out in the last four a year earlier.
Arsenal 4 Vorskla Poltava 2
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Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang netted twice as the Gunners got their group E campaign off to a winning start against the Ukrainians.
The Gabon striker steered Alex Iwobi's pass home after a laboured start from the hosts, with Danny Welbeck heading in Henrikh Mkhitaryan's cross three minutes after the restart.
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Aubameyang stroked home his second before the hour and substitute Mesut Ozil made it 4-0, before the visitors beat debutant Bernd Leno twice in the last 14 minutes.
FK Qarabag 0 Arsenal 3
Emile Smith Rowe, 18, netted his first senior goal in Baku as Unai Emery's made it eight wins in a row.
Sokratis diverted Nacho Monreal's header in at a fourth-minute corner to open the scoring and Smith Rowe produced a cool finish to double the lead early in the second half.
And French teenager Matteo Guendouzi also opened his account when finishing off a slick move with a low shot into the corner of the net 11 minutes from time.
Sporting Lisbon 0 Arsenal 1
Danny Welbeck netted the only goal of the night as Arsenal made it three out of three and 11 straight wins in all competitions.
Welbeck had a header ruled out for a foul in a defender, but pounced on a mistake by Sebastian Coates to slot through the keeper's legs 13 minutes from time.
But after having 67 per cent of the possession, the visitors were deserving winners as they claimed their first-ever victory in Portugal.
Arsenal 0 Sporting Lisbon 0
The Gunners secured their place in the last 32 after a stalemate at Emirates Stadium, as Danny Welbeck was stretchered off with a season-ending injury.
The England striker landed badly on his ankle after jumping for a first-half header and needed lengthy treatment, including oxygen.
Sporting ended with 10 men after Jeremy Mathieu was sent off for a foul on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who hit the crossbar in the first half, as Arsenal extended their unbeaten run to 15 matches, despite failing to find the net for only a second time under Unai Emery.
Vorskla Poltava 0 Arsenal 3
A young Arsenal side scored three times in the first half in freezing cold Kiev to cruise to another win.
The match was moved to the Ukraine capital, due to security concerns in Poltava, but Emile Smith Rowe, playing in a front three with Joe Willock and Eddie Nketiah, opened the scoring on 10 minutes.
Aaron Ramsey made it 2-0 from the penalty spot, having been bundled over in the box, and Willock ran on to Mohamed Elneny's through ball to bend a shot into the far corner for his first senior goal.
Smith Rowe had another effort ruled out as the Gunners made it 18 games unbeaten.
Arsenal 1 FK Qarabag 0
Laurent Koscielny returned from the Achilles injury suffered in the previous season's semi-final, but had very little to do.
Alexandre Lacazette converted Mesut Ozil's pass on 16 minutes, while Eddie Nketiah had a header ruled out for offside.
And 17-year-old Bukayo Saka missed a chance to become Arsenal's youngest-ever goalscorer in Europe when firing into the face of keeper Vagner in the last minute as the unbeaten run reached 22 games.
Final P W D L F A Pts
Arsenal 6 5 1 0 12 2 16
Sporting 6 4 1 1 13 3 13
Vorskla 6 1 0 5 4 13 3
Qarabag 6 1 0 5 2 13 3
L32: BATE Borisov 1 Arsenal 0
Alexandre Lacazette saw red late on as Arsenal were frozen out in Belarus.
Stanislav Dragun headed in an Igor Stasevich free-kick just before half time as Arsenal faded after a bright start.
Lacazette had a goal ruled out early in the second half, on a bumpy pitch, and was given his marching orders for elbowing Aleksandar Filipovic five minutes from time.
Despite enjoying 77 per cent possession, the Gunners managed only three shots on target against Alex Hleb's team and suffered a seventh defeat in 14 matches in all competitions.
L32: Arsenal 3 BATE Borisov 0
An early own goal by Zakhar Volkov sent Arsenal on their way to a comfortable win and a place in the last 16.
The defender turned in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's cross to level the aggregate scores but Arsenal needed Stephan Lichtsteiner to clear off the line from Stanislav Dragun's header.
Shkodran Mustafi put Arsenal in front with a powerful header from Granit Xhaka's corner and substitute Sokratis headed in a third on the hour.
L16: Rennes 3 Arsenal 1
The sending-off of Sokratis proved vital as Arsenal fell to a first leg defeat in France.
Alex Iwobi put them ahead after just three minutes, but Greek defender Sokratis saw red for two bookable offences.
Benjami Bourigeaud levelled immediately with a stunning strike and Nacho Monreal's own goal gave Rennes the lead midway through the second half.
Ismaila Sarr's 88th-minute header gave the Gunners work to do in the return leg in north London.
L16: Arsenal 3 Rennes 0
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang inspired Arsenal to aggregate success and a quarter-final place.
After firing home Aaron Ramsey's cut-back within four minutes, the striker set up Ainsley Maitland-Niles to make it 2-0 on the quarter-hour mark.
Aubameyang poked home a low Sead Kolasinac cross with 18 minutes left to leave boss Unai Emery excited about the prospect of winning the competition for a fourth time.
QF1: Arsenal 2 Napoli 0
Two goals in the first 25 minutes put the Gunners on top in their quarter-final tie against the Italians.
Aaron Ramsey finished off a good team move when converting an Ainsley Maitland-Niles pass and Kalidou Koulibaly deflected a Lucas Torreira shot past keeper Alex Meret soon after.
But the hosts wasted other chances to put the tie beyond reach, as Meret saved twice from Ramsey and denied Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on three occasions to give Carlo Ancelotti's Napoli some hope for the return.
QF2: Napoli 0 Arsenal 1
Alexandre Lacazette's stunning free-kick proved decisive after a disciplined display by Arsenal at Stadio San Paolo.
Petr Cech saved well from Jose Callejon and Arkadiusz Milik had a goal ruled out for offside, but the Gunners then controlled matters.
The only negative was a hamstring injury to Aaron Ramsey as Unai Emery celebrated a 32nd win in his 50th match - the best ratio of all Arsenal managers. It would prove Ramsey's last outing for the club before a summer move to Italy.
SF1: Arsenal 3 Valencia 1
Having lost in the semi-finals a year earlier against Atletico Madrid, Arsenal fell behind to fellow La Liga side Valencia in the first leg of their last-four tie at Emirates Stadium.
Mouctar Diakhaby headed in from close range when Rodrigo nodded a corner across the face of goal with only 11 minutes gone to shock the home crowd.
But Arsenal were back on terms seven minutes later as Alexandre Lacazette's through ball sent Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang racing clear to draw two defenders and the keeper before teeing up his strike partner for an easy finish.
The Gunners moved 2-1 up on 25 minutes when Granit Xhaka's diagonal ball into the box found Lacazette and his downward header was tipped onto the post and over the line by Neto.
Lacazette had two chances to complete his hat-trick, but Petr Cech - making his final appearance in England - had to rush out to deny Kevin Gameiro, before Unai Emery's men claimed a vital third goal in the last minute of normal time as Aubameyang converted at the far post.
SF2: Valencia 2 Arsenal 4
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's hat-trick helped Arsenal silence the Mestalla with a 7-3 aggregate success.
The Gunners came under early pressure and fell behind on 11 minutes as Kevin Gameiro slid home from close range after a quick counter-attack.
But as the decibel level rose, Aubameyang struck a superb equaliser just six minutes later as he raced on to strike partner Alexandre Lacazette's flick-on and fired home a stunning volley from 20 yards.
Lacazette clipped a post before the break, but made space for himself in the box to shoot low into the corner of the net for Arsenal's second goal on 50 minutes.
And although Gameiro scrambled home his second just before the hour mark, it was followed on 69 minutes by Aubameyang sliding in at the near post to convert an excellent low cross from Ainsley Maitland-Niles.
Aubameyang completed his first treble in Arsenal colours in the last minute of normal time to send fans home happy.