'Iconic performance': Aubameyang treble fires Arsenal to Europa League final
Gabonese striker Aubameyang hit a hat-trick and French hitman Lacazette added another as Arsenal ran out 4-2 winners on the night to seal a 7-3 aggregate victory at the Mestalla Stadium.
The hosts started the better, and took the lead through Kevin Gameiro as they looked to peg back Arsenal's 3-1 first-leg advantage.
But as the momentum seemed to be building in favor of the home side, Arsenal struck back almost immediately as Aubameyang latched onto Lacazette's flick and volleyed home.
A superb curling effort from Lacazette gave the Gunners some breathing room five minutes after halftime, only for Gameiro to pop up and make things a little tense just before the hour mark.
But any Arsenal doubts evaporated on 69 minutes when Aubameyang slid in at the near post to put Arsenal 3-1 up. Then the former Borussia Dortmund man put the seal on a superb night, both for himself and for his team, by smashing his third into the roof of the net two minutes from time.
Aubameyang's performance drew rave reviews online, as fans took to social media to hail their goalscoring hero.
One fan tweeted: "This is Aubameyang’s best ever game for Arsenal. By some distance. Iconic performance."
This is Aubameyang’s best ever game for Arsenal. By some distance. Iconic performance.— Spanish Gooner (@elspanishgooner) May 9, 2019
And another used a pic of Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke to make their point after Aubameyang and Lacazette extinguished any hope of a Valencia fightback in the second leg.
Valencia: If Liverpool and Spurs can, we can beat Arsenal!Aubameyang and Lacazette pic.twitter.com/pbsbOOG28C— @Wasiomabashir3 (@wasiomabashir3) May 9, 2019
And one Gunners fan shared his optimism as Arsenal's London rivals Chelsea booked their place in the final alongside them.
Lacazette & Aubameyang against Chelsea’s defense in the Europa final? Don’t mind if I do. pic.twitter.com/wN2yKDucgi— ً (@AIcaIa) May 9, 2019
It all means Arsenal will head into their first European final since they were beaten in the 2006 UEFA Champions League final by Barcelona.
And the Gunners will face rivals Chelsea in an all-English final in the Azerbaijani capital of Baku on May 29.