Unai Emery gained his massive reunion with Arsenal however 2-1 would possibly show a small reward for Villarreal, who did not reap the benefits of Dani Ceballos being despatched off in a frantic Europa League semi-final first leg on Thursday. Manu Trigueros and Raul Albiol gave Villarreal a dream begin at La Ceramica and the tie slipping away from Arsenal when Ceballos was proven a second yellow card early within the second half. However 10-man Arsenal rallied and grabbed an away objective when Nicolas Pepe transformed a penalty within the 73rd minute, earlier than Villarreal’s Etienne Capoue additionally noticed crimson with 10 minutes left to play.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang would possibly even have snatched a late equaliser for the guests however Mikel Arteta will probably be delighted his staff aren’t simply within the contest however in a wholesome place too, with an away objective to take again to London subsequent week.
“It modifications utterly the tie. It makes an enormous distinction,” mentioned Arteta. “We all know we’re there, we now have to be higher and if we’re we could have the prospect to be within the closing.”
For Villarreal, an opportunity was missed however the lead continues to be welcome and Emery will take consolation from the truth that they had been the higher facet for the very best a part of an hour, even earlier than Ceballos was dismissed.
“Issues went for us and towards us however we now have to maintain believing,” mentioned Emery.
“It was a tough problem earlier than the match and it is nonetheless tough. However with every thing on the desk, we now have gained, we now have the benefit.”
Emery mentioned on Wednesday he would at all times have a “place in his coronary heart” for Arsenal, regardless of a turbulent 18 months accountable for the membership earlier than he was sacked in 2019.
He may also look on with little envy at his successor Arteta, who’s underneath strain now to win the Europa League and qualify for the Champions League, with Arsenal sitting tenth within the Premier League desk and nowhere close to the highest 4.
Villarreal took the lead within the fifth minute with a free-flowing transfer out from the again that Arteta can be pleased with.
It began with the goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli and completed with Samuel Chukwueze driving into the field, the ball spilling out to Trigueros, who drove into the far nook.
There weren’t even half-hour gone when Villarreal made it two, this time from an easier supply as Dani Parejo’s nook was flicked on by Gerard Moreno and Albiol caught out a foot on the again submit.
Emery introduced on Francis Coquelin so as to add some safety however the dynamic of the sport modified simply earlier than the hour, when Ceballos arrived late on Parejo’s ankle to earn a second yellow card.
Moreno ought to have made it three however Bernd Leno pushed his shot over after which Arsenal got a lifeline, Bukayo Saka nipping between Capoue and Trigueros earlier than tumbling over. Pepe drilled the penalty down the center and in.
Villarreal’s lead had been minimize after which their numerical benefit vanished too as Capoue flew in late on Saka to see crimson, whereas injuring himself within the course of.
Arsenal sensed an equaliser and Aubameyang, on instead, would possibly even have discovered it when he was slipped in on the best of the realm however Rulli made the save.
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