Arsenal’s reunion with Unai Emery will be in the spotlight tonight when the Gunners travel to Estadio de la Cerámica for the Europa League semifinal first leg.
Emery is a serial winner at this level having lifted the trophy three times on the bounce with Sevilla between 2014 and 2016.
He didn’t repeat the trick with his Arsenal side in 2019, however, when they fell at the final hurdle in Baku against Chelsea.
Key central midfielder Vicente Iborra remains sidelined with a knee issue. Tottenham loanee Juan Foyth should continue at right-back but ex-Gunner Frances Coquelin will have to make do with a place on the bench as Dani Parejo and Etienne Capoue hold down the central midfield berths.
Nigerian winger Samuel Chukwueze will look to exploit any weaknesses on the left side of Arsenal’s defence, with first-choice fullback Kieran Tierney unlikely to be risked from the start.
🧮 Likely XI (4-4-2):
Asenjo; Foyth, Albiol, Torres, Estupinan; Chukwueze, Parejo, Capoue, Trigueros; Moreno, Alcacer
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alex Lacazette, Kieran Tierney and David Luiz are all in contention, while Martin Ødegaard is pushing for a start in the number 10 position.
🧮 Likely XI (4-2-3-1):
Leno; Chambers, Holding, Mari; Cedric; Xhaka, Partey; Saka, Ødegaard, Pépé; Lacazette
- Villarreal has won 11 of their 12 Europa League games this season, including a perfect record of six wins from their six home games.
- The Yellow Submarine has found the net at least twice in all six of those home wins.
- Gerard Moreno has 26 goals across all competitions this season, and six in his last five UEL games.
- Nicolas Pépé has opened the scoring four times in the UEL this season, including in both legs of the quarterfinals.
- Arsenal has faced Villarreal in European competition on four previous occasions, all in the Champions League.
- Arsenal beat the Yellow Submarine 1-0 on aggregate to secure a place in the UCL final in 2006 and three years later the Gunners claimed a 4-1 aggregate win to reach the semis.
- In both previous two-legged meetings between the sides, Villarreal’s home leg was drawn.