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UEFA Europa League

Valencia's Gabriel Paulista and Francis Coquelin set for Arsenal Europa League reunion

1:50 AM GMT+8 02/05/2019
Gabriel Arsenal
The two former Arsenal players will return to the Emirates with the spot in the Europa League final on offer....

As Arsenal get ready to host Valencia in the first-leg of the UEFA Europa League semi-final, a few familiar faces are set to descend on the Emirates.

While the two-legged tie will see Arsenal manager Unai Emery go up against his former side where he spent four seasons between 2008 and 2012, there is also an Arsenal reunion on the cards for Gabriel Paulista and Francis Coquelin.

The two players are no strangers to Arsenal fans, having spent a substantial amount of time at the London club before making the move to Valencia in Spain. Both the players were brought to Arsenal by Arsene Wenger with Gabriel arriving in the 2014-15 winter transfer window while Coquelin was signed in the summer of 2008.

Brazilian Gabriel’s two and a half seasons at North London saw the club win two FA Cup titles along with a Community Shield triumph with the central defender going on to make a total of 64 appearances across all competitions for the club.

A no-nonsense defender by art, Gabriel’s time at Arsenal is still largely defined by his fiery duel with compatriot Diego Costa in the Premier League against Chelsea in September, 2015. Gabriel was given a straight red which was subsequently overturned by the FA after Arsenal filed a wrongful dismissal claim.

Coquelin, meanwhile, spent as many as eight seasons at London after joining as a youngster from France and slowly forged his way as a key defensive midfielder for the club. Overall, the Frenchman made a total of 105 Arsenal appearances while also being farmed out on loan on several occasions.

Having become surplus to requirements at Arsenal before eventually arriving at Valencia, the two players have now established themselves as key men for the Los Ches. While Gabriel has made a total of 39 appearances this season for Valencia, Coquelin has not been too far behind with 37 caps of his own.

There is no doubt that the two former Arsenal players will be desperate to put on a show to remember on their return to London and Emery’s men will need to be wary of that.

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