The Emirates Stadium in London hosts the first leg of Valencia CF’s UEFA Europa League semifinal meeting with Arsenal on Thursday, in a 9pm CEST kickoff. Marcelino’s men are looking to establish a positive result in London against the English side, in order to establish an advantage for the second leg at Mestalla.

This will be the first time that the two sides have met in official competition since 2003.

FORM
Valencia CF are currently 6th in LaLiga with 52 points, and are still involved in the battle for fourth place and Champions League qualification with three games of the season remaining.

They come into the game off the back of consecutive league defeats -against Atletico Madrid and Eibar- for the first time this season, but in the Europa League they hold a near-perfect record of 5 wins and 1 draw.

VCF entered the competition after falling short in the Champions League, and have vanquished tough opposition in Celtic, FC Krasnodar and Villarreal.
Arsenal are fifth in the Premier League, 2 points behind fourth-placed Chelsea.

They have lost their last three matches, against Crystal Palace, Wolver and Leicester City, shipping 9 goals in the process.

The Gunners’ European campaign has seen them eliminate teams such as Vorskla Poltave, BATE Borisov, Rennes and Napoli.

OLD ACQUAINTANCES
Two former Arsenal players are on the books at Valencia CF, although only one will be available for the first leg. Gabriel Paulista spent 2.5 seasons, from 2015-2017, at the Emirates. Francis Coquelin will miss the game in London through suspension after picking up a booking against Villarreal.

Arsenal are coached by Unai Emery, who was in the dugout at Valencia CF from 2008-2012. In their squad is former Valencia CF captain Shkodran Mustafi.


SQUADS
Valencia CF will be without injured utility man Denis Cheryshev, who is out for the rest of the season through injury, as well as Geoffrey Kondogbia and the suspended Coquelin.

Arsenal are waiting on the condition of Mesut Özil, who has suffered a foot injury, whilst Denis Suarez, Danny Wellbeck, Hector Bellerin and Rob Holding are confirmed out.

MANAGER’S VIEW
PREVIOUS MEETINGS

Valencia CF 2-1 Arsenal, Champions League, March 2003

Arsenal 0-0 Valencia CF, Champions League, December 2002

Valencia 1-0 Arsenal CF, Champions League, April 2001

Arsenal 2-1 Valencia CF, Champions League, April 2001

Valencia CF 0-0 Arsenal (5-4 on penalties), European Cup Winners Cup, May 1980