It was a dramatic night for Arsenal supporters last night. As the Gunners went up against Villarreal in the Europa League semi-finals. Unai Emery, the former Arsenal boss, was able to triumph over the Gunners with Villarreal. The Spanish side were able to seal the game 2-1 in their favour.
Emery’s side were commanding the pitch for the majority of the game. We saw Arsenal struggling to keep up with their opponents. Villarreal were able to state their dominance by netting twice in the first-half. However, Arsenal were able to retaliate with a penalty goal from Nicholas Pepe in the 73rd minute of the game.
Despite their less than impressive performance, Arsenal still have a chance to retaliate in the second-leg. All thanks to the away goal they secured from the penalty. However, Unai Emery feels that the penalty was undeserving. He feels the referee made a mistake to grant Arsenal a penalty.
Emery did also raise his concern over the referee not utilising VAR to confirm his decision, via football.london. Emery now has a task at hand to keep their advantage intact and win the second-leg. However, Arsenal are hoping to keep their hopes high as they face Villarreal at the Emirates Stadium.
Emery faces a big blow:
Unai Emery will make his first return to Emirates Stadium next week after his sacking in 2019. The Spanish coach is keen to secure another win over Arsenal on Tuesday. However, he may be facing huge challenges as the two main positions in his lineup will be altered.
Juan Foyth, the Villarreal defender, picked up an injury during the clash against Arsenal. The Argentine is likely to be out for the remainder of the season. This will be a huge blow for Villarreal in their upcoming games. Foyth was one of the pillars of Villarreal’s defence. His absence will also be a huge setback for Unai during their clash with Arsenal.
Étienne Capoue will also miss out on their clash against the Gunners. The defensive midfielder was shown a red by the referee after committing two bookable offenses. Capoue is also a key player in Emery’s lineup as the midfielder provides backup to the backline.
The absence of two of his key players will give Emery a tough time. Unai will have to shuffle his lineup and bring in replacements ahead of the big game. Arsenal are also keen to redeem their chances to advance in the league. So it will be a tough call for both clubs on and off the pitch.
Arsenal still have hope:
The Gunners still have hope of making it into the Europa League finals. Although they did lose the game 2-1 against Villarreal. They can still keep their hopes up thanks to the away goal advantage. Arsenal can still make it to the finals if they can end the second-leg in a 1-0 victory.
Mikel Arteta’s side were unable to put pressure on their opponents in the first-leg. And was even vulnerable on multiple occasions in the game. We also saw the Gunners fail to keep possession in the center of the park, opening chances for their opponents. Many fans were also questioning Granit Xhaka on his play against Villarreal.
Arsenal will also miss out on players as Dani Ceballos will have to stay in the stands. The midfielder picked up a red card after receiving two yellow cards. Arteta will have to bring in alternatives to fill the void and this may affect his rotation plans.
However, Mikel Arteta is hoping to keep the hopes up ahead of the clash on May 7th. Arsenal will go up against Newcastle United tomorrow in a PL game. Arteta will utilize the game to review his tactics ahead of the big clash. Although they did not fare well in the first-leg, Arsenal will not lose hope ahead of the second-leg.