Villarreal came on top against Arsenal by securing a 2-1 win in the first leg of the first semifinal of the UEFA Europa League. Manu Trigueros and Raul Albiol scored for the hosts whereas Nicolas Pepe scored an important away goal.
Despite the setback, the Gunners need at least one goal to progress to the finals and have a big task in their hand. However, Unai Emery would be looking forward to the away leg as he is just two matches away from winning the competition with the Yellow Submarines.
Villarreal 2-1 Arsenal: Team News
Unai Emery fielded a 4-3-3 formation and made two changes to the starting eleven. Alfonso Pedraza replaced Alberto Moreno whereas Geronimo Rulli replaced Sergio Asenjo.
Mikel Arteta made just a single change starting Martin Odegaard instead of Eddie Nketiah. However, Willian and Pierre Emerick Aubameyang were available as substitutes.
Villarreal 2-1 Arsenal: Post-Match Analysis
It was an even match but the Spanish club got the better twice against Arsenal in the first half. However, it was not a clean game as Etienne Capoue and Dani Ceballos both were sent off. Aubameyang, Thomas Partey, and Pau Torres also received yellow cards.
Trigueros surprised the visitors after a rocket goal scoring in the 5th minute. The hosts were rock-solid in both offensive as well as defensive departments. They doubled their lead in the 29th minute by skipper Raul Albiol. Gerard Moreno had a good chance to further extend the lead three minutes later, but the shot was off target by quite a distance.
Moreno missed another golden opportunity ten minutes later. Certainly, it was not a good night for the top scorer of the hosts. Albiol was doing well in defense in the second half and the hosts were looking comfortable with a two goal lead. However, Moreno once again missed another golden chance.
But, the lead was shortened after a penalty scored by Nicolas Pepe in the 72nd minute. According to football fans on Twitter, it wasn’t a penalty as they believe Saka dived to get a penalty.
Raul Albiol (8/10) – The Villarreal skipper came on top when it was needed the most. He was sound in attack as well as in defense. He deserves to be the Man of the Match.
Nicolas Pepe (7/10) – A well-taken penalty was the main part but he has been a crucial player for Arteta. However, he couldn’t lead the attack well.
Pablo Mari (4.5/10) – He was not doing well in the defense for the North London club. He was well exposed after Foyth charging forward for the hosts.
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