Arsenal welcomes Unai Emery’s Villarreal to the Emirates Stadium for the second leg of their Europa League semi-final on Thursday, with their hopes of winning European silverware still intact. Read more about Arsenal vs. Villarreal below.
Following goals from Manu Trigueros and Raul Albiol, the Yellow Submarine fly to North London with a 2-1 advantage from the first leg, with Nicolas Pepe’s penalty giving the Gunners hope.
Arsenal vs. Villarreal – Arsenal Team News
Arsenal’s Kieran Tierney and Alexandre Lacazette both participated in full training on Tuesday in a big boot, while Mikel Arteta rested several players over the weekend and would recall Bernd Leno, Bukayo Saka, and Thomas Partey.
After receiving a red card in the first leg, Dani Ceballos has been suspended for the home team. Mohamed Elneny has a good chance of playing on Thursday, with Granit Xhaka set to play at left-back.
Villarreal Team News
Etienne Capoue, a former Watford midfielder, will not be able to return to England after his red card in the first leg. As a result, ex-Arsenal midfielder Francis Coquelin has a good chance of playing.
Juan Foyth, a Tottenham loanee, suffered an injury in the first leg and then missed the weekend, creating serious questions about his availability on Thursday.
Against Getafe at the weekend, the Spanish side had Pervis Estupinan, Paco Alcacer, and Ruben Pena available.
After starting against Getafe on Sunday, Alcacer should be replaced by Carlos Bacca in the starting XI here.
Arsenal vs. Villarreal – Our Prediction:
Arsenal 2-1 Villarreal (3-3 aggregate, Arsenal to win on penalties)
Arsenal should have been eliminated in the first leg, but they salvaged a 2-1 loss in Spain to put themselves in a strong position to reach the final. The only issue is that they haven’t won in their last five games at the Emirates.
Villarreal is unbeaten in the Europa League this season and has a nine-game winning streak in the tournament. They will be unhappy by how they let Arsenal back into the tie last week, but they will be optimistic about their chances on Thursday. Unai Emery will be motivated even more now that he is back at his former club.
Emery has more than one reason to steer Villarreal into the showpiece case, as the visiting manager must not only uphold his European integrity but also a sense of personal identity as he attempts to knock out his former employers.
The Gunners may not even be in the running for a place in the final, but Arteta will want to rally his men, and many of his key players are well-rested. We hope this one will go the way, and we’re betting on Arsenal’s ability to score from 12 yards to get them to Gdansk.
Possible starting lineup:
Arsenal: Leno; Chambers, Holding, Gabriel, Xhaka; Partey, Elneny; Saka, Smith Rowe, Pepe; Aubameyang
Villarreal: Rulli; Gaspar, Albiol, Torres, Pedraza; Chukwueze, Parejo, Coquelin, Trigueros; Moreno, Bacca