On Thursday for the first leg of Villarreal’s Europa League semi-final tie Villarreal will welcome former rivals Arsenal to the Estadio de la Ceramica. After defeating Dinamo Zagreb 3-1 on aggregate the Yellow Submarine advanced to the final four, while the Gunners brushed away Slavia Prague 5-1 over two legs. Here’s everything one should know about Villarreal and Arsenal prediction and lineup.
Villarreal lineup: Asenjo; Foyth, Albiol, Torres, Estupinan; Chukwueze, Parejo, Capoue, Trigueros; Moreno, Alcacer
Villarreal has only one injury risk for their match against Arsenal and he is Vicente Iborra. Pervis Estupinan returned to action against Barcelona on Sunday.
Manu Trigueros was given his marching orders in the Blaugrana’s defeat, but he is free to begin here.
With Carlos Bacca replacing Paco Alcacer to partner Gerard Moreno, Unai Emery could stick to his 4-4-2 formation as he did in the Europa League.
Arsenal lineup: Leno; Chambers, Holding, Gabriel, Xhaka; Partey, Ceballos; Saka, Odegaard, Pepe; Nketiah
If Tierney is unable to start, Granit Xhaka will take his place at left-back, with Eddie Nketiah on standby upfront.
Martin Odegaard is looking to retake his place as Arsenal’s No.10 player after returning from injury.
Villarreal has lost three of their last five matches, which does not bode well for the Yellow Submarine’s chances against Arsenal on Thursday. In recent weeks, Arsenal’s goal-scoring feats on the road have been admirable, but without Aubameyang or Lacazette leading the way, they would fail to maintain their hot streak.
Unai Emery is a Europa League master, and he’d love nothing more than to beat his former bosses. Emery is no stranger to Europa League success, and the ex-Arsenal manager will undoubtedly fantasize about knocking his former club out of the competition, but we believe the Gunners will do enough to earn a draw and set up a tense second leg at the Emirates.
Our Prediction: Villarreal 1-1 Arsenal