Nicolas Pepe’s punishment gave an Europa League life saver to 10-man Arsenal as they were beaten 2-1 by Unai Emery’s Villarreal in an emotional semi-last first leg in Spain.
Munititions stockpile persevered through a dreary first half at Estadio de la Ceramica as poor guarding permitted Manuel Trigueros to crush home from inside the crate (5), preceding a plain Raul Albiol multiplied Villarreal’s lead from short proximity following a corner (29).
Arms stockpile were second best to their previous supervisor’s side and their expectations of arriving at the last showed up in considerably more noteworthy uncertainty when Dani Ceballos was shown a subsequent yellow card for planting his studs on Villarreal’s Dani Parejo from the get-go in the subsequent half.
Yet, the Gunners were given a hardly merited course once again into the tie when Bukayo Saka was stumbled by Trigueros to win a punishment, with Pepe, who had been denied a spot kick before in the game because of a handball got by VAR, holding his nerve (73).
Villarreal at that point went down to 10 men themselves for the last 10 minutes as previous Watford midfielder Etienne Capoue went in late on Saka to acquire his subsequent yellow card.
Mikel Arteta had selected to begin the game without a perceived striker because of wounds, however Arsenal nearly rescued an improbable draw when substitute Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who was just fit enough for the seat following his episode of intestinal sickness, was denied by Villarreal goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli in stoppage time.
A 2-1 misfortune, notwithstanding, is an obviously better outcome than Arsenal’s general presentation merited and the chance is currently there for them to go on a case a spot in the last in following week’s subsequent leg.
Villarreal: Rulli (7), Foyth (7), Albiol (7), Pau (7), Pedraza (6), Parejo (7), Capoue (5), Trigueros (7), Chukwueze (7), Alcacer (6), G Moreno (6).
Subs: Coquelin (7), Gaspar (6), A Moreno (6), Gomez (6).
Arsenal: Leno (7), Chambers (6), Holding (6), Mari (5), Xhaka (5), Partey (5), Ceballos (3), Saka (7), Odegaard (5), Smith Rowe (6), Pepe (7).
Subs: Martinelli (6), Aubameyang (6), Willian (n/a), Elneny (n/a).
Man of the match: Juan Foyth
Arteta had communicated idealism about Arsenal’s harmed players returning in his pre-match question and answer session however Martin Odegaard was the one in particular who began, with Alexandre Lacazette and Kieran Tierney unfit to try and join Aubameyang on the seat.
Munititions stockpile’s absence of capability would demonstrate tricky yet it was the shortfall of Tierney that hurt them for Villarreal’s opener as improvised left-back Granit Xhaka, along with Ceballos, eased off Samuel Chukwueze, permitting Trigueros to fire home from his redirected pass.
Emery, sacked by Arsenal in November 2019 after only 17 months in control at the Emirates Stadium, siphoned his clench hands in festival in his specialized territory and the early misfortune shook the guests.
Munititions stockpile’s anxiety was obvious in stray passes and froze contacts as they endeavored to work out from the back and there was a glaring absence of bleeding edge at the opposite end, leaving Emile Smith Rowe with little to work with in the bogus nine position.
Arms stockpile didn’t assemble a shot until the 26th moment, when Saka twisted inefficiently preposterous, and their lone different endeavors of the principal half elaborate Thomas Partey shooting a long-range exertion into the stands and Rob Holding heading gently wide from a free-kick.
Villarreal, in the mean time, kept on looking compromising, springing forward each time they denied Arsenal of ownership and focusing on the Gunners’ left side, where Chukwueze and right-back Juan Foyth ended up with a lot of room to work in.
It was from a set piece, however, that they struck their second as Arsenal left two men plain in their own six-yard box from a corner, Albiol tucking home Gerard Moreno’s flick at the far post.
Munititions stockpile were reeling yet all of a sudden they were then granted a punishment when Pepe was stumbled and official Artur Dias highlighted the spot, just for the choice to be upset as a VAR survey showed the Ivorian had dealt with the ball in the development.
Ceballos got his first reserving of the night right away before half-time when he stumbled Foyth following another Villarreal breakaway and Arteta was then rebuffed for picking not to substitute him.
Ceballos, whose blunders nearly cost Arsenal in the round of 32 against Benfica, had been lucky to keep away from a subsequent yellow card for an imprudent foul minutes after the break yet there was no respite for him when he left a foot in on Parejo soon a while later.
It appeared to be Arsenal’s expectations of arriving at the Europa League last, their lone any desire for fitting the bill for next season’s Champions League, were getting away from them as Villarreal attempted to squeeze home their man advantage.
Bernd Leno made a savvy save from Chukwueze to keep them in the tie and afterward made a far superior one from Moreno after he had been played in on objective by previous Arsenal man Francis Coquelin.
Yet, Arsenal, floated by Leno’s heroics, at that point won their conceivably urgent punishment as Saka’s cunning constrained the mistake from Trigueros. Pepe opened the spot kick down the center.
Another layer of show was added to a turbulent evening when Capoue saw red, harming himself simultaneously, and a tie that had nearly gotten away from Arsenal out of nowhere shifted in support of themselves.
The Gunners should show extensive improvement in following week’s second leg at the Emirates Stadium in the event that they are to progress to the last, where they would probably confront Manchester United, 6-2 victors against Roma in the other semi-last, yet Pepe’s punishment has at any rate given them trust.
Opta stats: Arsenal’s red mist
- Arsenal have been shown 10 red cards in all competitions under Mikel Arteta, twice as many as any other Premier League side in the period since he took over in December 2019.
- This was just the second time in their 10 European semi-finals that Arsenal have lost the first leg, also doing so in the 2008-09 Champions League against Manchester United (from which they were eliminated).
- Villarreal have progressed from 15 of their 16 two-legged ties in major European competition when winning the first leg – the only exception was in the 2015-16 Europa League semi-final, when they went out to Liverpool.
- This was the first time a former Arsenal manager (Unai Emery) had beaten the Gunners since George Graham’s Tottenham side won 2-1 at White Hart Lane in a Premier League encounter in November 1999.
- Arsenal’s Nicolas Pepe has been involved in more goals in Europa League this season than any other player (10 – 6 goals, 4 assists).
- Gerard Moreno has scored or assisted a goal in all seven of his Europa League starts for Villarreal this season, with the Spaniard setting up the second goal this evening.
- Arsenal’s Dani Ceballos picked up his first red card in all competitions for a team playing in the top five European leagues (201st game).