Unai Emery to inflict his revenge?
Unai Emery has his chance at revenge having been bombed out of the Arsenal hotseat last season, his replacement Mikel Arteta, similarly to how Emery was, is clinging to the Europa League for the only route for his side to qualify for next season’s Champions League. Villarreal are in with a good chance of securing Europa League status once again domestically but the Champions League would be the dream, the expectation is off of them with the Gunners claiming they are one of the biggest clubs in Europe in recent weeks, it will suit and I expect them to cause the North Londoners plenty of problems.
Route to this stage
Both sides have had banana skins on their way to the last four, the Yellow Submarine more than Arsenal after they made progressing past RB Salzburg in the round of 32 look a lot easier than it should have been. Emery is a Europa League master and guided them past Dynamo Kyiv and Dinamo Zagreb, they have won all six knockout matches on the night to this point.
The Gunners went to the Czech Republic with a point to prove and blew Slavia Prague out of the water to win 4-0, Slavia had claimed the scalps of Rangers and Leicester City, it was a huge triumph. Nicolas Pepe is thriving in the tournament, the 25-year-old has had an up and down stint with the club so far, weighed down a little by his price tag but is showing his class when they need him most. The individual quality certainly lies with the visitors, they have a much higher budget but in terms of cohesion and understanding the hosts may have the upper hand, particularly the first leg is very evenly matched.
Villarreal are potent and capable of breaching Arsenal, who will look to dominate the ball. A fiery first leg looks on the cards.
- Villarreal have scored in 10 of 10 and all of their last 12.
- Villarreal have conceded in seven of 10.
- Villarreal have seen both teams score in seven of 10.
- Villarreal have seen over 2.5 goals in eight of 10.
- Arsenal have scored in seven of 10.
- Arsenal have conceded in eight of 10.
- Arsenal have seen both teams score in five of 10.
- Arsenal have seen over 2.5 goals in six of 10.
Arteta has been pragmatic in big games this season and would probably be happy to take it back to the Emirates level, Villarreal must seize this opportunity.