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Arsenal v Valencia background

Arsenal were eliminated in last season's semi-finals by Spanish opposition and will be out to avoid a repeat against Valencia.

Valencia's John Carew (left) with Thierry Henry of Arsenal
Valencia's John Carew (left) with Thierry Henry of Arsenal ©Getty Images

Through to the UEFA Europa League semi-finals for the second successive season, Arsenal take on Valencia hoping to avoid the same fate as 12 months ago, when they were eliminated by Spanish opposition, going out to eventual winners Atlético Madrid.

• This season Arsenal cruised through to the knockout phase from Group E, dropping just two points as they qualified with two games to spare, but they had a scare in both the round of 32 and round of 16 against BATE Borisov and Rennes respectively before winning home (2-0) and away (1-0) in the quarter-final against Napoli.

• Valencia's autumn campaign was in the UEFA Champions League, where they finished third behind Juventus and Manchester United in Group H (W2 D2 L2). They are unbeaten in their six UEFA Europa League matches, having knocked out Celtic and Krasnodar before claiming quarter-final victories in both legs (3-1 away, 2-0 home) against fellow Spanish side Villarreal.

Highlights: Arsenal 2-0 Napoli

Previous meetings
• The clubs have been paired together in UEFA competition on three previous occasions, Valencia coming out on top each time.

• The Spanish club defeated the Gunners 5-4 on penalties in the 1979/80 European Cup Winners' Cup final – the first European final to be decided in that manner – after a 0-0 draw in Brussels, Graham Rix missing the vital kick.

• Valencia then eliminated Arsenal from the 2000/01 UEFA Champions League on away goals, following a 1-2 defeat in London with a 1-0 home win thanks to John Carew's goal. Two years later the Norwegian striker scored twice more as Valencia, then the champions of Spain, defeated their English counterparts 2-1 at Mestalla in the final game of the second group stage to advance to the quarter-finals at their visitors' expense, the earlier game in north London having ended goalless.

• Arsenal have won only ten of their 33 UEFA fixtures against Spanish opposition, their 15 defeats including three in finals – against Valencia in 1979/80, Zaragoza in the 1994/95 European Cup Winners' Cup and Barcelona in the 2005/06 UEFA Champions League.

• At home their record is W8 D4 L3, though they are without a victory in the last two games, a 0-2 defeat by Barcelona in the 2015/16 UEFA Champions League round of 16 preceding a 1-1 draw against Atlético in the first leg of last season's UEFA Europa League semi-final. The Gunners have lost their last four two-legged ties against Liga sides, having won each of the four prior to that sequence.

• Valencia's record in 37 UEFA matches against English opposition is W12 D16 L9. They have won six of their nine two-legged ties, the most recent against Stoke City in the 2011/12 UEFA Europa League round of 32 when they recorded two 1-0 victories. Their last three visits to Premier League grounds have brought two wins, one draw and three clean sheets.

• Their one previous European semi-final against an English club resulted in a 3-0 aggregate victory against Leeds United in the 2000/01 UEFA Champions League (0-0 away, 3-0 home).

Watch Arsenal wrap up semi-final spot

Form guide
• UEFA Champions League ever-presents for 19 successive seasons until last term, Arsenal reached the UEFA Europa League semi-finals at the first attempt, going out to eventual winners Atlético.

• This season they breezed through their group, an opening 4-2 win at home to Vorskla Poltava preceding four wins and a draw in which they conceded no further goals.

• That competition record-equalling run of five clean sheets ended at BATE, where they lost 1-0 before recovering to win 3-0 at home. It was a similar comeback tale in the round of 16, a 3-1 defeat at Rennes preceding another 3-0 home victory, before a 1-0 win at Napoli supplemented a first-leg 2-0 home win.

• Arsenal's only previous UEFA Europa League semi-final came last season against Atlético, when they drew 1-1 at home, Alexandre Lacazette scoring, before losing 1-0 in Madrid. It was the Gunners' first European semi-final since the 2008/09 UEFA Champions League, when they were beaten 4-1 on aggregate by Manchester United (0-1 away, 1-3 home). Their last semi-final victory came against Spanish opposition as they defeated Villarreal 1-0 at home and on aggregate in the 2005/06 UEFA Champions League.

• The 1999/2000 UEFA Cup runners-up picked up seven points at home in this season's group stage. The knockout phase wins against BATE, Rennes and Napoli mean their home record in two UEFA Europa League campaigns is now W9 D3 L1, with 31 goals scored and eight conceded. The Gunners have kept clean sheets in their last five home games in the competition.

See Valencia impress away in quarter-finals

• Fourth in the Spanish Liga in 2017/18, Valencia qualified for an 11th UEFA Champions League group stage campaign after two consecutive seasons without European football.

• Valencia lost twice without scoring against Juventus in the autumn but took four points off both Manchester United and Young Boys, beating each at home and drawing away. Celtic were brushed aside in the UEFA Europa League round of 32 (2-0 away, 1-0 home) before substitute Gonçalo Guedes's dramatic late strike in Russia knocked out Krasnodar 3-2 on aggregate. Villarreal were then dispatched in style in the quarter-final.

• This is the Spanish side's record-equalling third appearance in the UEFA Europa League semi-finals, the previous two having both been lost to fellow Spanish opposition, against Atlético in 2011/12 (2-4 away, 0-1 home) and on away goals to Sevilla in 2013/14 (0-2 away, 3-1 home).

• Valencia have lost only two of their last seven away European games (W2 D3). However, the 3-1 win at Villarreal in the last round ended a run of four successive away defeats in the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals and semi-finals.

Highlights: Valencia 2-0 Villarreal

Links and trivia 
• Arsenal's head coach Unai Emery had four seasons in charge of Valencia from 2008 to 2012, overseeing 220 matches of which 107 were victories. He led Valencia to the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals in 2009/10 and the 2011/12 semi-finals.

• Emery also led Sevilla to a UEFA Europa League semi-final victory against Valencia in 2013/14 – the last time Los Blanquinegros reached the last four of the competition.

• Emery’s record in 13 matches against current Valencia coach Marcelino is W7 D1 L5.

• Kevin Gameiro was a member of Emery's side in each of Sevilla's three successive UEFA Europa League triumphs. The French striker scored the decisive penalty in the 2014 final shoot-out against Benfica and the equaliser against Liverpool in the 2016 final.

• Valencia midfielder Francis Coquelin, who is suspended for this match, was an Arsenal academy graduate and first-team player from 2011–18. His team-mate Gabriel played for the Gunners from 2015–17.

• Shkodran Mustafi joined Arsenal from Valencia in 2016 after two seasons with the Spanish club. He made 64 Liga appearances, scoring six goals.

• Nacho Monreal played for Osasuna (2006–11) and Málaga (2011–13) before joining Arsenal. His record against Valencia was W2 D1 L4.

• Monreal's next appearance will be his 50th in UEFA club competition.

• Mesut Özil made 105 Liga appearances for Real Madrid, scoring 19 times, between 2010 and 2013. He was unbeaten in seven matches against Valencia in all competitions (W4 D3).

• Monreal, Héctor Bellerín and Barcelona loanee Denis Suárez have all played for Spain, as have Valencia's Rodrigo, Daniel Parejo and José Gayà.

• In September 2018 Rodrigo scored Spain's UEFA Nations League winner against England at Wembley (2-1).

• Arsenal are the only surviving team from last season's UEFA Europa League semi-finals, and only the third club – after Benfica and Sevilla – to have reached the last four in successive campaigns.

• Arsenal are the only one of the four semi-finalists yet to win the UEFA Cup or UEFA Europa League. They were defeated on penalties in the 2000 final by Galatasaray.

• 2004 UEFA Cup winners Valencia are in the UEFA Europa League semi-finals for a record-equalling third time, joining Atlético Madrid, Benfica and Sevilla on that mark.

• Valencia are through to the final of the Copa del Rey in Seville, where they will face holders Barcelona on 25 May.

• Both Arsenal and Valencia were defeated in domestic league action on Sunday, the former going down 3-0 at Leicester City, the latter losing 0-1 at home to Eibar – results that mean the two clubs both remain outside the top-four qualifying bracket for next season's UEFA Champions League.

The coaches
• After two years with Paris Saint-Germain that yielded seven domestic trophies, Unai Emery was appointed as Arsenal manager in May 2018, replacing the long-serving Arsène Wenger. The Spaniard oversaw Sevilla's historic hat-trick of successes in the UEFA Europa League from 2013/14 to 2015/16, having assumed control following a four-year tenure at Valencia and a brief stint at Spartak Moskva. He has been in charge of more UEFA Europa League games than any other coach, this being his 72nd.

• Marcelino's career as a midfielder, which included representing Spain at youth and Under-21 level, was curtailed at the age of 28 by injury. As a coach, he worked his way up the Spanish leagues, stints with Zaragoza, Real Racing Club and Sevilla preceding an impressive three-and-a-half-year spell at Villarreal, whom he guided to promotion, three successive top-six Liga finishes and the 2015/16 UEFA Europa League semi-finals. He was appointed by Valencia in May 2017.