Villarreal vs Arsenal LIVE: Gunners looking to get the better of former manager Unai Emery and seize control of Europa League semi-final tie with victory in first leg in Spain
- Arsenal face ex-boss Unai Emery on Thursday in first leg of Europa League tie
- Gunners will be eager to grab control of the tie with their league hopes in tatters
- Arsenal beat Slavia Prague while Villarreal saw off Dinamo Zagreb to reach semis
- Latest Europa League news, including fixtures and results
- Villarreal vs Arsenal preview: Team news, key stats and odds
Arsenal are gearing up for a tasty reunion with former manager Unai Emery in the Europa League as they take on Villarreal in the first leg of their semi-final tie at 8pm tonight.
There is plenty at stake for the Gunners in Europe, with their Premier League ambitions in tatters, and they will be desperate to seize control of the semi-final tie against the LaLiga outfit.
Arsenal saw off Slavia Prague to reach the semi-finals, while Villarreal overcame Dinamo Zagreb in the last round.
Follow Sportsmail’s Jonathan Spencer for live Europa League coverage of Villarreal vs Arsenal, including scoreline, lineups and updates.
Don’t worry, if you’re wanting to watch Man United vs Roma, the other Europa League clash going on tonight, we have you covered!
You can follow all the action from Old Trafford right below…
PETE JENSON: When Villarreal sacked their manager at the end of last season despite the fact that he had got them Europa League qualification it was a statement of ambition – they were tired of just being a club everyone admired, instead they wanted to finally win something.
Veterans of four semi-final defeats and a La Liga runners-up spot, the club from the east coast of Spain want a trophy and they had fired a perfectly adequate coach in Javi Calleja, to bring in a specialist Unai ‘three Europa Leagues’ Emery.
Now they stand on the brink again. Hoping this semi-final will be different to the 2004 loss to Valencia in the UEFA Cup, the 2006 loss to Arsenal in the Champions League, the 2011 reverse against Porto in the Europa League, and the 2016 loss to Liverpool in the same competition. Emery is their winning ticket, they hope.
READ THE FULL STORY BELOW
While key players miss out, in particular up front, Arsenal have received the huge boost with Odegaard returning to the starting XI.
Odegaard came off the bench late on against Everton last Friday but is now fully fit to start after recovering from his ankle injury.
Arteta will be counting on the Norway captain to provide the creativity in midfield tonight.
Arsenal will have to be particularly wary of Moreno and Alcacer up top for Villarreal.
Moreno sits fifth in most goals scored in 2021 by a player in Europe’s top five leagues. The Spaniard has 18 to his name…
Only Lewandowski (23), Mbappe (23), Messi (23) and Haaland (20) have more so far in 2021.
Arsenal XI: Leno; Chambers, Holding, Mari, Xhaka; Partey, Ceballos; Saka, Odegaard, Smith Rowe; Pepe
Subs: Ryan, Okonkwo, Bellerin, Gabriel, Willian, Aubameyang, Cedric, Luiz, Nelson, Elneny, Nketiah, Martinelli
So Aubameyang is only fit enough to make the bench, while Lacazette misses out altogether with Luiz and Tierney.
It looks like Pepe could be the man tasked with leading the line tonight…
Hello everybody and welcome to Sportsmail’s live coverage of Villarreal vs Arsenal in the first leg of the Europa League semi-final.
Arsenal take on former manager Unai Emery tonight, and they will be desperate that the Spaniard doesn’t come back to haunt them!
We will bring you live updates throughout, so stick with us!
Source: Read Full Article