We head to the Mestalla on Thursday night for the second leg of our Europa League semi-final against Valencia.
Tactical expert Michael Cox looks at where the game could be decided:
1. Runs into the channels
While Valencia switched to a three-man defence for last week’s 3-1 loss at the Emirates, Marcelino tends to use a 4-4-2 system. Rather than using one clear target man and a strike partner buzzing around just behind, he deploys two quick, mobile players who make excellent runs into the channels.
Rodrigo Moreno, a Brazilian-born Spanish international once of Bolton, tends to play towards the left and Santi Mina plays to the right. Together, their movement can cause serious problems, and they helped themselves to two goals apiece in the 6-2 win over Huesca at the weekend – and both of Moreno’s goals were assisted by Mina. Interestingly, Mina’s last six goals have been scored in three doubles.
2. Set-pieces could be dangerous
Valencia dominated the opening stages at the Emirates and were a particular threat from set-pieces – Mouctar Diakhaby headed home the opener in the aftermath of a dead ball situation, while Ezequiel Garay should probably have made it 2-0. Although Valencia are a skilled technical side, they’re also excellent at turning set-piece opportunities into goals. Diakhaby, Garay and Arsenal old boy Gabriel Paulista must be watched carefully.
3. A familiar face may return
Francis Coquelin was suspended last week and therefore missed out on a return to the Emirates, but he may return alongside influential midfield playmaker Parejo. Coquelin, as you may expect, plays a solid holding role and protects the defence closely, allowing Parejo to push forward, create chances and attempt shots from long-range.