In a match that brings a lot of fond and bitter memories, Villarreal welcome Arsenal for the Europa League semi-finals this week. The match schedules for Thursday at the Estadio de la Ceramica, with a kickoff at 10 pm.
Both sides head into the clash on the back of disappointing results in their respective domestic leagues. Villarreal fell for a 2-1 loss to Barcelona whereas Arsenal shot themselves on the foot with a 1-0 loss to Everton.
Most players from the away camp will be reminiscing their tenure under Unai Emery – Wenger’s replacement at Emirates. The relationship started on a good note with a 21 unbeaten streak for the Gunners.
Moreover, Unai Emery gave a chance for their youngsters a start including Martinelli, Bukayo Sake and Smith Rowe who are currently the lifeline for the Gunners. A fifth finish in the previous season and a defeat in the Europa League marked the downfall of Unai Emery’s tenure at Arsenal.
The loss to Everton was a bitter taste for Arsenal fans protesting outside the stadium over the departure of club owner Stan Kroenke. Daniel EK came up as a possible new owner, but the KSE turned down any rumors.
On the other hand, Unai Emery is known for Europa League success after winning it three consecutive times with Sevilla. However, a spot in this competition next season hangs in the balance.
Villarreal vs Arsenal Head to Head
Both sides have four matches against each other, with Arsenal taking two wins while hosts without a win. Here is a look at their previous encounters:
Villarreal 1-2 Barcelona
Alaves 2-1 Villarreal
Levante 1-5 Villarreal
Villarreal 2-1 Dinamo Zagreb
Villarreal 1-2 Osasuna
Arsenal 0-1 Everton
Arsenal 1-1 Fulham
Slavia Praha 0-4 Arsenal
Sheffield United 0-3 Arsenal
Arsenal 1-1 Slavia Praha
Villarreal Team News
Despite picking a red card on domestic duty, midfielder Trigueros remains available for selection while partner Iborra is unavailable with a knee injury. Francis Coquelin will have to settle for a spot on the bench against his old club.
Arsenal Team News
Captain Pierre Erick Aubameyang was recovering from malaria and returned to light training. However, it remains unclear whether he would pass fit to start. Fellow attacker Lacazette will miss out with an ankle problem. Martin Odegaard returns to the fold from an ankle problem. Kieran Tierney and David Luiz remain injury absentees.
Prediction and Odds
There is a lot of history against the two sides, making up for a mouth-watering clash this Thursday.
Goals Under 3.5
Most Goals: 2H