Arsenal took a huge step towards the Europa League final as a double from Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s late strike earned a 3-1 semi-final, first leg win over Valencia on Thursday.

Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang would rather avoid facing domestic rivals Chelsea in the Europa League final should his side overcome Valencia.

The Gunners are favourites to book a place in the May 29 showpiece as they take a 3-1 advantage into Thursday’s semi-final second leg at Mestalla.

Chelsea still have plenty of work to do in their tie with Eintracht Frankfurt, meanwhile, following a 1-1 draw in Germany earlier this week.

But Aubameyang does not fancy the prospect of an all-English showdown in Baku later this month, having already faced Chelsea twice in the Premier League this season.

“I don’t want them. We know they’re a great team but hopefully first we will go to the final and then I prefer to play Frankfurt because we’ve already played against Chelsea,” he told reporters.

“I know Frankfurt are really good and, if we both go through to the final, it will be a hard one.”

Aubameyang scored a crucial third goal for Arsenal in the 90th minute against Valencia, adding to Alexandre Lacazette’s first-half brace after Mouctar Diakhaby had put the visitors in front.

The strike duo have netted a combined 43 goals in all competitions this season and Aubameyang has talked up his on-field understanding with the Frenchman.

“Maybe this is the first season in my career that I play with another striker like him,” he said.

“I’m really happy that we’re doing well. We always give everything for the team and Laca deserves to score goals, and I think I do as well.

“We have the same vision about football when we talk in the dressing room – the same ideas and the same feelings. The fact that we understand each other is the thing that makes the difference in games.”

Arsenal turn their attentions back to the fight for a top-four Premier League finish on Sunday with a home match against Brighton and Hove Albion, before travelling to Mestalla for the return leg against Valencia.

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