If this was a match that Arsenal’s season depended on, then it was a bad night for the Gunners and one in which the team selection will be questioned.
Arsenal missed a host of chances before Nicolas Pepe finally made the breakthrough for the hosts. However, Thomas Holes’ injury time header means that Arsenal will have to go to Prague next week with the tie delicately balanced, even though Prague celebrated at the end as if they had won it.
The first half at the Emirates was very quiet with Arsenal producing just two shots on target, with Rob Holding going closest when his header was tipped over the crossbar.
Both Bukayo Saka and Alexandre Lacazette fired efforts wide and the Gunners were on top, but they failed to make the most of their opportunities.
The first effort of the second half saw Willian hit the post with a freekick, but it was Slavia who came closest to scoring when Provod played in Boril and his effort was saved by the legs of Bernd Leno.
In the 62nd minute Alexander Lacazette won possession and found himself clean through with only the goalkeeper to beat, but his curled effort hit the top of the cross bar, in what was a golden opportunity.
Just four minutes later Lacazette misfired again from a Saka cross. Martenelli replaced Willian shortly before Arteta made a triple change as Saka, Thomas Partey and Lacazette make way for Mohamed Elneny, Nicolas Pepe and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
The changes worked as in the 86th minute Pepe latched onto to Aubameyang pass, drove into the area before poking the ball into the net to spare his teammates blushes for their earlier poor finishing.
Pepe is now Arsenal’s top scorer in the competition with four goals.
Arsenal’s Ghanaian midfielder Thomas Partey (L), Arsenal’s French-born Ivorian midfielder Nicolas Pepe (C) and Arsenal’s French striker Alexandre Lacazette (R) discuss options at a freekick during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Manchester United at the Emirates Stadium in London on January 30, 2021. (Photo by Andy Rain / POOL / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo by ANDY RAIN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
However Arsenal were unable to hold on and were punished for their poor finishing when Holes headed in at the back post and Leno was unable to keep the ball out the net.
Arsenal failed to keep a clean sheet for the 14th consecutive game and the away goal could prove to be a vital one.