Former Arsenal defender Gabriel Paulista is confident his current employers Valencia can score the goals to fire the Spanish side to the Europa League final.
The Gunners face the talented La Liga outfit this week in the Europa League semi-final first leg at the Emirates Stadium.
Former Gunners to get revenge? Five things you need to know…
- Gabriel Paulista joined Arsenal from Villarreal in 2015 for a transfer fee of £11.3 million.
- The defender made 64 appearances for the Gunners across three seasons, scoring once against Bournemouth.
- After failing to amass more than 21 Premier League appearances in a single season, the 28-year-old left the club.
- Joining Valencia in 2017, the Brazilian has enjoyed his time in La Liga, with the club sitting three points off fourth.
- They are also in the Copa del Rey final where they will face La Liga champions Barcelona.
Speaking to reporters regarding the upcoming Europa League fixture against his former club, Gabriel Paulista strongly believes that his current side have what it takes to break down the Arsenal defence and secure a place in this season’s final.
The Brazilian has warm memories of playing in north London but is now concentrating on Valencia’s success.
He said: “Playing for Arsenal was an incredible experience that I will never forget.
“I want to make history with Valencia CF. It’s the Centenary year and in 100 years’ time I want people to remember that Gabriel Paulista won the Europa League with Valencia CF.
“I like these types of games and the type of pressure that comes with playing against sides like Arsenal. I’m ready to do a good job and help the club go as far as possible in the competition.
“First you need to be very focused on the game, to defend well and then show character on the ball, trying to score a goal. I’m sure that we are going to score. We need to run, fight and win in order to get to the final.”
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A big few weeks for Arsenal
Heading into this crucial Europa League semi-final, Arsenal haven’t exactly been in the form expected of a team gunning for success.
Unai Emery’s side have conceded three goals in their past three Premier League games, losing all three, failing to take advantage of rival top-four hopefuls own poor form.
Two ties against Valencia are separated by a league match against Brighton & Hove Albion before the Gunners finish their season with a tough trip to Sean Dyche’s Burnley.
If Arsenal still have plans to partake in Champions League football next season, they will need to pick a competition to prioritise, with a top-four finish and a Europa League triumph both avenues towards Europe’s biggest competition.
It’ll be interesting to see what Arsenal can achieve on both the domestic and European stage.