Unai Emery’s Villarreal took a big step towards the coach getting revenge over former side Arsenal as they won 2-1 in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final on Thursday.
Manu Trigueros and Raul Albiol got the goals for the LaLiga Santander side before Nicolas Pepe pulled back through a penalty in the second half. The Gunners’ task wasn’t helped by Spaniard Dani Ceballos getting sent off with more than 30 minutes to play, though Etienne Capoue was given his marching orders to even things up for the final 10.
Villarreal vs Arsenal Highlight
Villarreal vs Arsenal Line-up
Villarreal: Rulli, Foyth, Albiol, Torres, Pedraza, Parejo, Capoue, Trigueros, Gerard, Alcacer, Chukwueze.
Subs: Sergio Asenjo, Mario, Funes Mori, Bacca, Estupinan, Moreno, Coquelin, Jaume, Moi Gomez, Pino, Baena, Nino.
Arsenal: Leno, Chambers, Holding, Pablo Mari, Smith-Rowe, Ceballos, Thomas, Xhaka, Saka, Odegaard, Pepe.
Subs: Bellerin, Gabriel, Willian, Aubameyang, Cedric, Luiz, Nelson, Elneny, Nketiah, Ryan, Martinelli, Okonkwo.
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Arteta will hope to have one of Aubameyang or Lacazette fit, as otherwise he will be short on attacking options. Eddie Nketiah could lead the line in their absence, while Gabriel Martinelli and Nicolas Pepe are options too.
If Tierney is fit, that would allow Xhaka to move back into midfield as the Swiss has been filling it at left-back recently.
Martin Odegaard, who came off the bench against Everton last Friday, is thought to be ready to start now.
Arsenal predicted XI (4-2-3-1): Leno; Chambers, Holding, Mari, Xhaka; Partey, Ceballos; Saka, Odegaard, Smith Rowe; Aubameyang.
Thursday 8.00pm GMT, BT Sport
Venue: Estadio de la Cerámica
Referee: Artur Dias
Arsenal squad from: Bernd Leno, Mathew Ryan, Karl Hein, James Hillson, Arthur Okonkwo, Tom Smith, Hubert Graczyk, Hector Bellerin, Kieran Tierney, Gabriel, Rob Holding, Cedric, Pablo Mari, David Luiz, Tolaji Bola, Joel Lopez, Zak Swanson, Alexander Kirk, Zach Awe, Zane Monlouis, Brooke Norton-Cuffy, Bukayo Saka, Dani Ceballos, Martin Odegaard, Willian, Thomas Partey, Mohamed Elneny, Emile Smith Rowe, Granit Xhaka, Ryan Alebiosu, Ben Cottrell, Miguel Azeez, Omari Giraud-Hutchinson, Charlie Patino, Alexandre Lacazette, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Nicolas Pepe, Reiss Nelson, Eddie Nketiah, Gabriel Martinelli, Folarin Balogun, Trae Coyle, Jordan McEneff
Doubts: Aubameyang (malaria), Lacazette (hamstring), Tierney (knee)