Arsenal welcome Unai Emery’s Villarreal to the Emirates Stadium for the second leg of their Europa League semi-final on Thursday, with their dreams of European silverware still very much alive. The Yellow Submarine travel to North London boasting a 2-1 lead from Manu Trigueros and Raul Albiol goals and Nicolas Pepe’s penalty gave the Gunners hope. Here’s everything you need to know about Arsenal vs Villarreal pre-match details.
Arsenal lineup: Leno; Chambers, Holding, Gabriel, Xhaka; Partey, Elneny; Saka, Smith Rowe, Pepe; Aubameyang
On Tuesday, Arsenal players Kieran Tierney and Alexandre Lacazette both took part in full training.
Mikel Arteta will recall the likes of Bernd Leno, Bukayo Saka and Thomas Partey here.
Home side will miss Dani Ceballos who got suspended after his red cad in the first leg. Granit Xhaka expected to start at left-back, and Mohamed Elneny has a decent chance of starting on Thursday.
Given Nicolas Pepe’s form in the Europa League this season, only one of Martin Odegaard or Emile Smith Rowe will likely start on Thursday. Given Odegaard started against Newcastle, it appears the latter will get the nod here.
Villarreal lineup: Rulli; Gaspar, Albiol, Torres, Pedraza; Chukwueze, Parejo, Coquelin, Trigueros; Moreno, Bacca
Former Watford midfielder Etienne Capoue will be ruled out from the second leg after his red card in the first leg. Ex-Arsenal midfielder Francis Coquelin has a decent change of starting as a result.
In the first leg Tottenham loanee Juan Foyth got injured and is likely to miss the match raising major doubts over his availability on Thursday.
The Spanish side at least had Pervis Estupinan, Paco Alcacer and Ruben Pena available against Getafe at the weekend.
Alcacer surprisingly started against Getafe on Sunday raising the prospect of Carlos Bacca coming into the starting XI here.
— Villarreal CF English (@Eng_Villarreal) May 6, 2021
Arsenal vs Villarreal Prediction
In the first leg, Arsenal should have been dead and buried but the team managed to salvage a 2-1 defeat in Spain putting themselves in a good position to qualify for the final.
Villarreal has been unbeaten in the Europa League all season and on a nine-game winning streak in the competition. Unai Emery team will not be disappointed about how they let Arsenal into the tie last week but will fancy their chances of getting another good result on Thursday.
The Gunners arguably should not even be in with a chance of progressing to the final, but Arteta will aim to galvanize his troops and plenty of his big names are well-rested. We think this one will go the distance and are ultimately backing Arsenal’s prowess from 12 yards to carry them through to Gdansk.
Our Prediction: Arsenal 2-1 Villarreal (3-3 aggregate, Arsenal to win on penalties)