Where will Arsenal end this season


Preview | Villarreal FC host Arsenal FC in the Europa League semi-final first leg. For Villarreal coach Unai Emery, it's a personal duel against his former employer. Both teams are a bit behind in their respective leagues and want to use the Europa League to be represented internationally next year.

The game in the Europa League kicks off on Thursday at 9 p.m., live on DAZN. (Register now on DAZN and get a free month).

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Villarreal: Emery in a duel with an old employer

The Villarreal CF is playing an impeccable Europa League season and has not shown any nakedness so far. None of the twelve games so far have been lost, only once you did not leave the field as a winner (1: 1 against Maccabi Tel Aviv). The Spanish first division side is by no means a clear outsider in the upcoming duel against Arsenal. Under coach Unai Emery (49) plays that yellow submarine overall a good season. In the league they let down in some games, but are still in the middle of the fight for the Europa League places. In any case, the Spaniards are playing a better season than the upcoming opponents, with whom Emery was last under contract.


After Sevilla FC and Paris Saint-Germain. The Spaniard hired the Gunners in 2018. However, the 49-year-old had a difficult time with the north Londoners. Emery directly followed the coaching legend Arsène Wenger (71), who left the club after 22 years with some background noise. The general mood around the club was expandable and very toxic. Above all, the fan scene reveled in memories of past successes and only slowly accepted the impending sporting 'downward trend' and the associated realignment of the club. After 516 days in midfield in the Premier League, Emery was over at Arsenal.

Ex-Arsenal coach Emery: Via the Europa League with Villarreal in the premier class?

Interesting: with one Points average of 1.85 his balance is better than that of his counterpart Mikel Arteta (39). The 39-year-old succeeded interim coach Freddie Ljungberg (44), who briefly took over the team for six games after Emery. Arteta tries (e) to implement a new game philosophy, but has only been able to do so on average 1.78 points out 79 encounters to fetch. At Villarreal, the signing of Emery was celebrated as a coup. Predecessor Javier Calleja (41) was head coach for three years, with one exception for one month Submarinos. At the end of his time, Calleja delivered enough points of criticism that ultimately led to the Emery commitment. Although this one will in all probability perform worse in the league than Calleja in the previous season, he has the possibility of an international title with his team.

Should you actually win the competition in the end, here Emery is a true expert with three wins with Sevilla FC, you would qualify for the premier class. The whole club wouldn't care if they were ’only‘ seventh in the league at the end of the season. Villarreal last had no win there twice in a row. A good result also depends on goal scorers Gerard Moreno (29). The striker is having a strong season and is in good shape in the Europa League. In the last three Euro League games, the 29-year-old netted four times. Villarreal coach Emery will only have to do without long-term injured Vicente Iborra (33) against Arsenal.

Photo by Imago

Arsenal FC: Europa League as the last straw

That it at Arsenal FC It couldn't be said that everything ran so smoothly in the Europa League. In the second round, the Gunners continued to tremble against the Portuguese representative SL Benfica Lisbon and in the round of 16 against Olympiacos Piraeus it was unnecessarily exciting. In the quarter-finals they separated against Slavia Prague in the first leg only 1: 1, but left no discussions in the second leg (4: 0). In the league, however, the Londoners are far behind in tenth place in the table, fifth place is out of reach with nine points behind. Although the playful trend in 2021 was pointing upwards, individual mistakes and mistakes crept in at Arsenal FC. In addition, the shape curve was pointing down again. Against Fulham (1: 1) and Everton (0: 1) the last chances for the top five were lost.

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Winning the Europa League title is therefore the only remaining opportunity to be represented internationally next year. If the Euro League project fails, it would be the first time in 26 years that Arsenal have not been represented in any European club competition is. This was most recently the case in the 1995/1996 season, as they ended up in a disappointing twelfth place in the league in the 1994/1995 season and the final of the European Cup Winners' Cup (predecessor of the UEFA Cup and the Europa League) against Real Zaragoza lost. It is imperative to avoid such a scenario.

Photo: xJohnxWaltonx / Imago

Arsenal: hopefuls fit again

Arteta and his team are betting everything on the Europa League card and will have to put all their focus on the two upcoming games against Villarreal. There was good news from the personnel front. "They are all in the running, everyone, including Aubameyang, including Laca, including Kieran (Tierney, Editor's note) “, said the coach at the press conference before the game. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (31) has been absent since the beginning of April due to a malaria infection. No less important are Alexandre Lacazette (29) as a link to midfield as well as top performer and left-back Kieran Tierney (24).


Tierney recently dropped out due to a knee injury, and there was even speculation about the end of the season. “He didn't need the surgery we were afraid of. He worked like an animal every single day. I don't know if he'll make it tomorrow, but he definitely wants to get as close as possible, ”said Arteta. And also David Luiz (34), who is an important factor in the build-up of the game despite defensive uncertainties, has returned. However, it remains to be seen whether the returnees are already options for a starting eleven. The Gunners will therefore again have a lot of weight on the young shoulders of Bukayo Saka (19).


In terms of form, both teams are currently behind. A lot is at stake for Villarreal and Arsenal. However, the Emery team seems more stable and mature throughout the season. Villarreal should maintain the infallible streak and at least not leave the field as a loser in their home country Estadio de la Cerámica.

Possible setups:

Villarreal CFRulli - Foyth, Albiol, Torres, Pedraza - Parejo, Capoue - Chukwueze, Trigueros - Moreno, Alcácer

Arsenal FC: Leno - Chambers, Holding (Luiz), Marí, Xhaka (Tierney) - Ceballos, Partey - Saka, Ødegaard, Aubameyang (Pépé) - Lacazette

Photo: xNickxPottsx / Imago