Just a day on from the confirmation we’ll be treated to an all-English Champions League final this season, Arsenal and Manchester United were looking to double the patriotic glory by ensuring the Europa League final would also be an all-English affair.
In truth, Arsenal were the only ‘maybe’ heading into the second legs of this season’s last four, with Manchester United’s place as good as confirmed after their 6-2 demolition of Roma last week.
Many wondered whether Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would take the chance to offer some squad players a run out. Not only did he do that, he did the unthinkable…
While Van de Beek will have been desperate to impress for United, one player on the opposite side who’d have been desperate to do likewise was former Manchester United defender Chris Smalling.
Unfortunately for the England man he was soon denied such an opportunity.
With 30 minutes gone in both games the contests were tightly locked at 0-0, but at least one man was trying his best to give us some sort of entertainment…
There was no such entertainment over at the Emirates with Arsenal desperately trying to break the deadlock but creating precious little in the way of clear-cut chances.
The Arsenal Twitter world was beginning to grow increasingly nervous, though one man in particular was bearing the brunt of their fans’ frustration following an underwhelming first-half display.
Then finally it came. Not at the Emirates we’re afraid, but over in the Stadio Olimpico as United put to bed any doubts that they would be taking their place in this season’s Europa League final.
With United already effectively booking their place in the Gdansk showpiece at the end of May it was all down to the Gunners to find a way to break down their La Liga opposition’s backline.
While their finishing may not have been offering Arsenal fans much comfort, there was one man giving them a bit of hope.
Y’know that bit when we said about United already having booked their place in the final? Surely it couldn’t happen, could it?
No. No it couldn’t.
Arsenal were still pushing forward late on as they desperately searched for that elusive goal to take them through to the final, though as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s late header hit the post it was beginning to feel like it would never happen.
And it didn’t. You won Unai, enjoy the final, I hope it makes you very happy. Dear lord, what a sad little life, Unai. You ruined our night completely so you could make it to the final.