Villarreal vs Arsenal preview | Confirmed team news | Expected Line-ups | Prediction
Arsenal are in Spain to take on Villarreal in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final this evening. Here is our match preview for the game
Arsenal are in Spain to take on Villarreal in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final this evening.
The Gunners have endured a disappointing Premier League campaign and currently sit 10th in the table after last weekend’s frustrating 1-0 defeat at home to Everton.
With Arsenal expected to miss out on European qualification via the league, Mikel Arteta will be fully focussed on winning the Europa League as that would secure Champions League football next term.
After beating Benfica, Olympiacos and Slavia Prague en route to the semi-finals, Arsenal will now face-off against Villarreal in the last-4 and come up against former boss Unai Emery.
The Spaniard has a superb record in the Europa League and has guided Villarreal to the last-4 following victories over Salzburg, Dynamo Kyiv and Dinamo Zagreb in the knockout stages so they’ll be tough opposition.
Arsenal come into the game in poor form so many punters may be put off from backing the Gunners. Some may prefer to try their luck with tiki slots or casino games rather than risking their hard-earned money on an inconsistent team such as Arsenal.
However, the bookmakers still price the north Londoners as the 8/13 favourites to progress to the final over the two legs and some Gooners may be tempted to back them at 15/8 to win the first leg this evening.
Villarreal are certainly a dangerous side and could look good value at 31/20 to win the first leg on home soil or 5/4 to progress over the two legs, but most of the smart money will be on Arsenal.
Arsenal have been handed a huge boost with the news that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is back following illness while Alexandre Lacazette should also return to the squad after recovering from a thigh injury.
Kieran Tierney is back in contention after overcoming a knee injury and David Luiz is also fit again so Mikel Arteta has a fully-fit squad to choose from for this crucial game.
Villarreal also have virtually a fully fit squad with midfielder Vicente Iborra the only absentee with a knee injury. Francis Coquelin could face his former side while Juan Foyth, Etienne Capoue and Alberto Moreno all have experience playing against Arsenal from their time in the Premier League.
Villarreal 1-1 Arsenal: Arsenal have struggled in the Premier League but usually turn it on in Europe and we think they’ll get a positive result tonight. Villarreal are a solid side and could get a draw but a 1-1 would be a decent result for the Gunners.
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